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Obviously, not everyone wants to build hives and keep bees. But Ken Trimble, a Eureka Springs resident and one of the driving forces behind the community’s 2016 designation as the 17th Bee City USA in the nation and the first in Arkansas, has some simple steps anyone can take to keep bees thriving in Northwest Arkansas.

“There are several problems facing all pollinators today, but perhaps the greatest is a lack of healthy foraging and habitat,” Trimble says. “By everyone doing a little to create a nurturing area in their yard or on their back porch, we can make a huge difference in the well-being of our bees, butterflies and beetles.

“Looking at bees, we have more than 4,000 species in North America and somewhere between 400 and 650 species in Arkansas,” he goes on. “All require a reliable source of flowers as their food source and also clean water.

“It’s a good idea to keep a few main themes in mind when planting for bees,” Trimble continues. “Meadows of wildflowers were once the buffets for bees. Choose native plants over cultivars. Simple open flowers provide available pollen and nectar, but complex blooms ‘hide’ their resources from bees.

“Planting flowers in groups rather than spreading them around allows bees to forage more efficiently.

“Plan a continual blooming cycle throughout the growing season. (Groups such as Xerces can provide valuable information.)

“Perhaps most importantly, do not use pesticides on your garden.

“Also, make certain you purchase only pesticide-free plants. Ask your provider before you buy.

“And lastly, provide a clean source of water. Keep in mind, bees are very bad swimmers, so provide pebbles or sticks for them to prevent drowning!”

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