How to ‘B’ at One with Backyard Bees

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Yellow jackets and bumble bees may be a nuisance when you’re in your backyard or the park, but the seemingly unwelcome picnic guests are one of the most crucial pollinators around. Bees aren’t just responsible for honey; they help pollinate much of our food supply and without them we’d be out of roughly 30 percent of our food crops. The ever-so-important bee population is already depleting, so even if you’re not ready to try backyard beekeeping, you should avoid trapping and killing the little buggers. Instead, try to live harmoniously with them.

Dress the Part

Brightly colored clothing might be fun for summer, but certain hues can bring bees buzzing. If you’re worried about yellow jackets don’t wear bright yellow, orange, florescent red or light blue.

Skip Swatting

Even though you may be tempted to shoo yellow jackets and bumble bees away from your backyard BBQ, the swatting action will only provoke them. You probably won’t get rid of the bees and you may end up with a bee sting instead.

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Dine Smart

The foods and drinks at picnics and BBQs can attract bees. Keep all edibles and beverages covered as much as you can. If you notice a bees’ nest nearby, move your festivities or at least stand downwind so the scents of your meal won’t waft into their home. Also, be sure to toss garbage far away from your gathering. And, don’t leave standing water around.

Stay Scent Free

Bees are often attracted to fragrances from scented beauty products including lotions, hair spray and perfumes. So avoiding fragrances may make them less likely to come buzzing in the first place.

Images: gregav, Paul McGuire

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