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How to Help Save Butterflies & Bees This Summer

White House do-gooders are at again, and this time they’re trying to save the bees and the butterflies – of all things!</br></br>Of course, opinions vary as to the worthiness of such, ah, flighty environmental goals, but there’s no doubting the importance of the little critters as they work to make honey and <a title="NPR" href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/19/407955318/plan-bee-white-house-unveils-strategy-to-protect-pollinators" target="_blank">pollinate billions of dollars in U.S. cropland</a>.</br></br>It’s all the work of the White House’s <a title="The Verge" href="http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/20/8629331/obama-white-house-monarch-butterfly-mexico-minnesota" target="_blank">Pollinator Health Task Force</a> (yep, that's a real thing), but you can do your part, too, by creating a bee- and butterfly-friendly backyard.</br></br><strong>Plants Bees Love</strong></br></br>Bees like to pollinate all kinds of flowering plants, but there are some they treasure above all others. To provide a tasty layover for bees in your vicinity, try planting more:</br></br>- Lavender</br>- Mint</br>- Rosemary</br>- Thyme</br>- Crocuses</br>- Sunflowers</br></br>But, be careful! Bees are a vital part of the ecosystem, but they can also sting the crap out of you. So, plant your flowers strategically or mind how many blooms you buy to buffer your busy bees.</br></br><strong>Plants Butterflies Love  </strong></br></br>Bees are the only bugs that like to wrap their lips around a flower or two. Butterflies are big fans of many varieties, but these blossoms take the cake:</br></br>- Butterfly Bush (of course)</br>- Zinnia</br>- Black-Eyed Susan</br>- Fennel</br>- Phlox</br></br><strong>No Pesticides</strong></br></br><a title="Reuters" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/09/us-lowes-pesticides-idUSKBN0N023F20150409" target="_blank">Scientists say pesticides deserve much of the blame</a> for the threats faced by these pollinators, so it’s really important for them to find sanctuary in places that aren’t hosed down in chemicals.</br></br>And, hopefully that’s your yard. If pesticides are part of your gardening routine, try researching organic alternatives that will allow bees and butterflies to thrive.</br></br><strong>Perfection Kills   </strong></br></br>Finally, some good news: Perfectly landscaped yards aren’t necessarily perfect places for bees and butterflies. Insects enjoy nesting in unkempt clumps and breeding in standing water, which are most easily cultivated by neglect.</br></br>That doesn’t mean you have to let your lawn go to ruin, though, and if you need help you can always <a title="Find a Local Landscaper" href="https://porch.com/local/landscapers?tid=social_atgstores_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~" target="_blank">find local landscapers at Porch.com</a>.
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