Local woman converts backyard into bee paradise

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SAN DIEGO - In an effort to help the declining bee population, a local woman has converted her backyard into what she calls a “bee shelter.”

“We leave this in the garden until next spring and the bees will start hatching,” said Candace Vanderhoff as she pointed to a handmade bee home.

She has transformed the outside portion of her North Park home into a bee friendly habitat.

“They are so desperate for places to lay their eggs. When I put this in my garden, within two weeks they had filled up.”

Vanderhoff has several bee attracting plants spread throughout her backyard including a large rosemary bush.

“If bees were pulled out of the equation, there is a good chance thousands of other species would not exist.”

She counts on the bees to pollinate her fruits and vegetables, the same way the national agriculture industry relies on bees to pollinate billions of dollars worth of crops.

“If we don’t have bees pollinating our food crops, we would essentially be eating cheese and bread.”

According to reports, since the 1940’s bee colonies have dropped from five million to two and a half.

“People are not sure why bees are suffering, some people blame pesticides.”

On Tuesday, President Obama announced he would dedicate seven million acres of federal land to plant bee and monarch butterfly attracting plants.

Vanderhoff is already doing her part by protecting the bees in her backyard.

She doesn’t focus on honeybees, but instead the native ones, which don’t sting and are easier to manage and catch.

“Leave out a little dish of water with stones so they can sit on it and drink water because they need water because of the drought.”

Vanderoff sets up bee shelters as both a hobby and as a business through her company Solo Bee.

By the year 2020, President Obama’s goal is to increase the number of pollinators to 225 million.

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