To help bees through lean times, plant a variety of blooms

To help bees through lean times, plant a variety of blooms

Dean Fosdick via AP Seen is a bumblebee approaching a group of foxglove (Digitalis) blooms in an orchard near Langley, Washington. Gardeners can help augment declining bee populations by adding flowering plants to their landscapes and by being passive about clearing such things as dandelions, clover and other wildflowers from their yards. The lack of four-season food sources is one of the leading causes of the world’s declining bee populations. At certain times of year, there simply isn’t enough nutrition in the natural environment to fill the collective demand. Rapidly increasing urbanization, fencepost-to-fencepost farming and pesticide use are among the factors reducing the diversity and abundance of flowering plant species. So what’s a pollinator-dependent gardener to do? “Plant flowering plants,” said Rebecca Finneran, a horticulture educator with Michigan State University Extension. “People often only think of annual flowers as pollinator plants, but trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and herbs can provide a tasty diet for all types of pollinators.” The overall pollinator collapse is worrisome because bees, wasps, flies and butterflies are instrumental in growing more than a third of the food that makes its way to our tables. Some ways gardeners can help: Determine when the hunger gaps occur […]

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