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I agree that overuse of pesticides is causing a lot of trouble. I stayed with my mother for a year while building a home. She has had so much spraying done that her yard was totally out of balance. I urged her not to spray and if she had to, be specific and just target certain areas. There were no bees, only mud dauber the hordes. I cleared out nests and removed them naturally, usually before the sun came up while they were docile. Wasps also pollinate and are a natural predator of aphids. I planted a garden. The bees returned and especially liked the pumpkin blossoms. By the end of summer, I finally spotted a frog. "If you build it they will come."
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Deborah Jarman
Great article. When we first moved into our home in a wooded area near Seattle a few years ago the gardens and 2 acre yard were filled with an abundance of shrubs, fruit trees and perennials. I was surprised that the fruit trees did not produce much the first year we were here. The following year we had a much greater yield and I noticed bees were everywhere in the Spring. I later found out that the previous owners were rabid, tidy gardeners who used lots of chemicals and cleaned up every dead leaf and branch and hauled it away. I set up compost piles around the property for leaves and grass clippings, used no chemicals and left everything that died back in the winter to break down and nourish the soil until Spring cleanup. It was amazing how quickly the bees and other pollinators and wildlife returned. My garden beds look a bit messy in the cold months, but having the habitat during the winter has made an incredible difference.
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I have toads, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds in my garden. I love it. Every time I see them I think to myself: "You're gardening right, Laura!"

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