Attracting Bees and Butterflies to your Garden

Butterfly on pink flowerThe loss of millions of bees and butterflies in Ontario has many people concerned about these critical pollinators and the impact it’s having on our environment. Fortunately, we do our part to attract bees and butterflies by creating beautiful habitats in our own backyards. And in exchange for just a little work, you’ll have a more fruitful vegetable garden with a higher yield and better quality.
All animals need food, water and shelter and bees and butterflies are no exceptions. Unlike birds, insects can’t manage the deep water of birdbaths. If you already have a birdbath, just add a few stones so these smaller creatures can also have a drink. A small saucer of water is just as effective. Just make sure it’s kept clean and topped up.
Both bees and butterflies love colour, so indulge in the brightest most colourful plants for your garden. Native species are best and will produce exactly what these insects need. Your local garden centre can advise you on which plants to choose. Purple coneflower is a favourite of both species. Asters, sedums and sunflowers are also popular. Flowering herbs are also a wonderful choice. The added bonus is that these flower varieties will also attract beautiful hummingbirds.
Some butterflies prefer fruit to flowers, so you may wish to offer some overripe melon rinds and other bits of fruit. A plate of fruit in a sunny sheltered location will be very appreciated by these lovely creatures. You may wish to research what species of butterflies are common to your area to tailor your offerings more specifically.
Bee and butterfly “houses” are available at many garden centres and hardware stores. These small habitats will help these animals weather storms and hide from predators.
Of course, the largest killer of bees and butterflies is pesticides and even chemical fertilizers. Forego the chemicals to protect your visitors and use organic garden methods instead – it’s safer for you and your family, including your pets, too.
With these few easy steps, you will soon have a garden buzzing with life and vitality and full of colour.

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