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6 Ways To Protect Pollinators And Honey Bees

The 2014 MN State Fair #EcoExperience features Pollinators in the Garden exhibit and super helpful demos about this important topic. But as we roll into summer here's how you can begin to protect our pollinators! About one-third of our food supply relies on pollination by honey bees, native bees, butterflies, beetles, and flies. If pollinators disappear, so will squash and watermelon, along with many of the other foods we love. We can all #BeeMNNice

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1. Plant a wide variety of native, flowering plants.

Via Flickr

Early season blooms, like willow or maple, provide food for pollinators when other options are scarce. Fall blooming plants, like goldenrod and aster, are important for pollinators looking for food before winter.

3. Reduce or eliminate pesticide use. / Via

Don't buy plants treated with neonicotinoids or insecticides. Many plant pests cause only temporary, aesthetic problems that can be managed or tolerated. The US EPA has developed new pesticide labels that help you understand how to apply pesticides and help protect bees.

4. Provide shelter

Via Flickr

Most of Minnesota’s approximately 400 bee species are solitary, living in nests in the ground or in cavities in stems or trees. You can attract ground-nesting bees by leaving undisturbed, sandy soil in your yard. For the cavity-nesting bees, you can make a bee house. It’s fun and easy! The University of Minnesota Bee Lab provides how-to instructions in their Wild Bees and Building Wild Bee Houses publication (pdf).

5. Don't forget water!

Via Flickr (Recycled bird baths look just as nice as new ones!)

Provide a fresh water source like a bird bath, pond, or fountain. Refresh your standing water once a week to eliminate mosquito larvae. When it doubt, dump it out!

6. Be a citizen scientist

Via Penn State Flickr

The University of Minnesota Monarch Larva Monitoring Project is an exciting way for monarch and nature enthusiasts to contribute basic knowledge about monarch population dynamics and foster monarch and habitat conservation.