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Help for your garden

The honeybee is a gardener's best friend. Squash, pumpkins, melons and most cucumbers (as well as most fruit trees) are insect pollinated. Let's think about a pumpkin plant, growing from a mound, with many parts of the plant sprawling across the ground in different directions. The plant produces many flowers which are mostly close to the root system, called anthers. These are the "male parts". Along the extremities of the plant, tiny fruits, each with its own flower, are produced. These are the pistils, or "female parts". Insects transfer pollen from male flowers to female flowers while going from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen. If this process is absent or inadequate, the developing pumpkin will grow to about the size of a tennis ball before it gets soft, turns yellow and falls off the plant. Many gardeners lose a lot of fruit in this way. Of the most common pollinating insects (butterflies, bumble bees and honeybees), honeybees are by far the most prolific. Even plants that are wind or self-pollinating, such as tomatoes, beans and peas, can benefit from the additional pollination that bees give. Gardens can be expensive and are hard work. Make your garden more rewarding by keeping honeybees, which is probably no more expensive and is certainly far less work. And don't forget, you'll get honey, too!