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How-To: Say Welcome Home to Honeybees

Are you worried about the frightening and mysterious rate of death in honeybees? If so, you're not alone. In the past two years, almost a third of the United States' beehives have disappeared or been destroyed, and no one knows quite why. But you don't have wait until all the data is in to do something about it. By planting trees, flowers, and plants that naturally attract bees, you can make your deck, patio, garden, or backyard a haven for honeybees.

Here are some things to remember: If you plant a variety of flowers and plants, you will have a greater chance of attracting honeybees. Also, by choosing native plants, you will be using plants that are naturally adapted to your home's region and weather conditions. If you're worried about getting stung, I can reassure you that honeybees will not try to sting you unless you slap at them. My dad's a beekeeper, and even when I've helped him move hives or sat within five feet of a buzzing, busy hive, I've rarely been stung. (By the way, to take the above photo, I was within four inches of this busy little fella, and he never wavered from the job at hand.)

For a list of plants that can help you make your home bee-friendly,

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This list, from The Daily Green is more than enough to get you started!

  • Annual Plants and Flowers Asters, Calliopsis, Clover, Marigolds, Poppies, Sunflowers, Zinnias
  • Perennial Plants and Flowers Buttercups, Clematis, Cosmos, Crocuses, Dahlias, Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower), English Ivy, Foxglove, Geraniums, Germander, Globe Thistle, Hollyhocks, Hyacinth, Rock Cress, Roses, Sedum, Snowdrops, Squills, Tansy, Yellow Hyssop
  • Garden Plants Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Gourds, Peppers, Pumpkins, Raspberries, Squash, Strawberries, Watermelons, Wild Garlic
  • Herbs Bee Balm, Borage, Catnip, Coriander/Cilantro, Fennel, Lavender, Mints, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme
  • Shrubs Blueberry, Butterfly Bush, Button Bush, Honeysuckle, Indigo, Privet
  • Trees Alder, American, Holly, Basswood, Black Gum, Black Locust, Buckeyes, Catalpa, Eastern Redbud, Fruit Trees (especially Crabapples), Golden Rain Tree, Hawthorns, Hazels, Linden, Magnolia, Maples, Mountain Ash, Sycamore, Poplar, Willows
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