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Last week I wrote about the dire decline in our bee population, and this week I'm addressing what you can do to help all of our pollinators.

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Last week I wrote about the dire decline in our bee population, and this week I'm addressing what you can do to help all of our pollinators. To many people, bees and other insects that fly around are alarming and potential stinging threats. But before you reach for that spray can of insecticide, you need to pause because your actions could wipe out a local group of essential pollinators. Pollination is the movement of pollen grains between two flowers or within a single flower for fertilization and fruit (seed) production to occur. While we often think of bees as pollinators, there are over 200,000 species of bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, birds and other animals that act as pollinators for 75-90% of the world's flowering plants. One third of the food we eat has come directly or indirectly from plants pollinated by insects and animals. Without pollination, we wouldn't have any food crops. As far as bees are concerned, most kinds of bees don't sting. While female bees are capable of stinging, they don't unless they are physically threatened. Avoid disturbing any bees, learn to live with them around and, in fact, encourage them into your garden.

Many of our pollinators are threatened and there are a number of things you can do to help.

TIP #1
Attract more pollinators into your yard. Plant a wide diversity of native plants that flower throughout the spring, summer and fall. You can watch my hour-long lecture on "Pollinator Friendly Landscapes" on your computer by accessing our Learn page.

TIP #2
Provide water for butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife. Refresh the container often so it doesn't become a breeding spot for mosquitoes.

TIP #3
Avoid using pesticides; let the birds do it. Birds eat all kinds of insects and keep the insect population under control.

Our essential pollinators are under attack from a variety of sources, but with your understanding and protection, you can make a big difference.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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