Pollination: Invite Bees Into Your Organic Garden

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Do you realize that there are more than 250,000 species of plants that require pollination? Some are wind pollinated, like corn and pine trees; others produce pollen that is heavy and sticky and not easily blown by wind. These require bees, birds, butterflies, moths, bats, or some other animal or insect to move among the flowers and circulate the pollen.

Sufficient pollination is essential for plant reproduction. Fortunately bees are an awesome force for pollination. As they fly in and out of flowers, pollen sticks to their bodies and is deposited on neighboring flowers. Among the food crops that benefit from bee pollination are: Alfalfa; Buckwheat; Clover; Vetch; Apple, Apricot; Avocado; Raspberry; Strawberry; citrus fruits; Peach; Pear; Almonds; Cashews; Coffee; Soybeans; Sunflowers; Asparagus; Broccoli; Brussel Sprouts; Carrots; Cauliflower; Peppers; Onions; Parsley; Squash; Pumpkin; Beans; Cucumbers; Cantaloupe; Eggplant; and hundreds of others. In short, without bees and other pollinators we wouldn�t enjoy these wonderful foods.

For flower gardeners, your local bee population is just as important, as our furry flying friends and other pollinators are responsible for the brightly colored blooms on your flowers every year. Bees can�t see the color red, by the way. They see blue, yellow and ultraviolet. That�s why bee pollinated flowers are mostly yellow (sometimes blue) with ultraviolet nectar guides (sort of a landing pattern).

You�ve no doubt heard about Colony Collapse Disorder, which has resulted in millions, perhaps billions of bees disappearing from their habitats. Bees generally don�t venture farther than 200 yards from their colony to gather nectar and this is why it�s so important that you encourage bees to nest near your home garden.

Bees are roughly divided into those that build their nests in the earth and those that build them above ground, usually in some kind of wood. Inexpensive artificial nests can be constructed out of paper or plastic straws 3/8″ in diameter and then glued into a milk carton, or you can drill 3/8″ holes 4″-6″ deep into a block of untreated wood. These nests should then be attached to something like the side of your shed, a tree trunk, or a pole about 3 feet off the ground and should be protected from rain and wind.

By the way, most people�s fear of bees is unwarranted. Some varieties of bees do indeed sting, but usually only in self defense, when you take a swat at them. Bees are our friends, and necessary for beautiful flowers and crop production, so don�t kill them � invite them into your garden!

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: Todd Heft
www.bigblogofgardening.com Todd Heft is a self-taught organic gardener who lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. He grew up in a rural section of Bethlehem, PA, on the edge of a farm field, where he grew fond of the aroma of fresh manure. He is happiest when he has dirt under his fingernails, mud on his boots and an aching back.

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