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Birds, bees and bugs: Prepare your garden for spring

As winter loosens its grip, there are some things you can do to help the birds, bees and bugs that are about to appear.

DENVER — We're in that in-between time when it's spring one day and winter the next.

As winter loosens its grip, we can anticipate the arrival of birds, bees and bugs.

Many birds will be returning soon to join year-round residents. A functioning birdbath with clean water will welcome them. So will bird feeders and nesting materials.

Bees will soon be scouting for food sources. They find my crocus as soon as they open.

Honey bees are the most visible bees, but smaller native bees also play a major role as pollinators of crops and flowers.

Mason bees, for example, are about half the size of honey bees and are quite docile. You can encourage them to take up residence in your garden with houses of paper tubes that suit their needs. Similar houses also welcome other solitary bees, such as leaf cutter bees, as well as lady bugs and butterflies.

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Japanese beetle

You can also plan ahead to plant for butterflies. Lovely yellow swallowtails will take up residence in your garden if you plant carrot family plants that the caterpillars feed on, such as carrots, dill, fennel and Queen Anne's lace.

Although extreme cold weather can help kill off harmful insects, one that isn't harmed is the Japanese beetle. At this moment, the grubs are in your lawn. They've burrowed below the frost line and are munching on the roots of the grass. In early spring, apply a grub killer to your lawn and encourage your neighbors to do the same.


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