Calling back the bees
We’ve all heard about the sudden loss of bees from our gardens and fields. Though there are several theories for why bee colonies are collapsing, it seems that an exotic parasite has wiped out many susceptible populations of bees, and our widespread use of pesticides is preventing a comeback.
The Xerces Society, which is dedicated to the preservation of invertebrates, has begun a “Bring Back the Pollinators” campaign. (You can read about it here: http://www.xerces.org/bringbackthepollinators.)
The Society suggests steps that homeowners can take to foster the return of bees and butterflies. One is to leave patches of unplanted ground to leave enough room for nesting, or building “nesting blocks.” Another step is to stop using insecticides and herbicides on our plants, which are toxic to pollinating animals. A third step is to grow the right plants to encourage the return of the pollinators. In conjunction with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Society provides a list of plants that can do just that. It’s a data base where you can frame your search for appropriate plants for your area and site conditions to find just the right thing for your garden:
Plants that would grow well in dry Colorado climates might include golden prairie clover, silver-stem lupine, foxglove penstamon, and black raspberry.