The only thing not available for beautiful plants and flowers at Masterson's Garden Center is sunshine.

Now that it’s out, and the ground will slowly start to dry up a bit, it’s time to think about gardens and all the living things that come out of them – like bees.

  • Western New York honey bee keepers report 50 to 75 percent loss over the winter 
  • When gardening this year, gardeners are encouraged to use organic pesticides to help bees 
  • It takes 1 million flowers for bees to gather one pound of honey

"You should have a goal before you come in here," said Mike Masterson of Masterson’s Garden Center. "Have some concept of your color scheme, your heights, whether you're planting in sun or shade."

Masterson said this year, the more flowers in every garden, the merrier. Not just to decorate our communities, but because the honey bees need them more than ever.

"The general average is you need about a million flowers to gather 1 pound of honey," Masterson said.

Once again, it was a difficult winter for the buzzy insects. Unfortunately, Masterson said it's been worse than in the past.

"We are hearing loses of about 50 to 75 percent or more," Masterson said.

The reason is still being figured out, he said, but the suspicion of blame falls on colony collapse disorder or mites.

"We will get the answers at some point we hope, but until then we are trying to get as many bee colonies out there as we can," Masterson said.

Behind the greenhouses, the garden center has its own colony of about a million honey bees. On Wednesday, four million more were basking in the sunlight waiting to be picked up by local bee keepers.

If having a colony in the backyard doesn’t sound appealing, there are other ways to help bees.

"Stop killing dandelions on your lawn," Masterson said. "It is the first thing honey bees can eat in the spring."

Masterson also suggests not using pesticides that cause harm to the insects, but instead try using organic pesticides and compounds. And of course, plant plant plant.

"Annuals, perennials, shrubs, it doesn't really matter what you plant," Masterson said. "The honey bees aren't very particular."