Bees, the essential pollinators, need our help. Their populations are in decline in Minnesota and nationally. Creating a haven for bees in yards and gardens is one way to rally around the bees. Five simple steps can help ensure our desire to preserve bees is matched by optimum effectiveness. Extension specialist Marla Spivak and educators Karl Foord and Julie Weisenhorn offer these tips. Make sure you have enough space: A minimum of a 5-by-10-foot patch for planting is best. Bees seek density of pollen. Just as humans wouldn't be interested in a berry patch that offered only one berry every few feet, bees have the same need for efficiency in their nourishment. Choose carefully: Bees need flowering plants for nutrition. Bee balm, anise hyssop, lupine, asters, Autumn Joy sedum, sunflowers and herbs like thyme and oregano are a few good choices. Here's a full list of the plants likeliest to attract bees: Hawthorn, Wild geranium, Large Beardtongue, Willow, Lanceleaf coreopsis, Virginia waterleaf, wild lupine, Goatsbeard, Purple coneflower, Blue lobelia, Slender mountain mint, Anise hyssop, Swamp milkweed, Borage, Partridge pea, Prairie clover, Joe-Pye weed, Common boneset, sunflowers, Autumn joy sedum, Jewelweed, Rough blazingstar, Beebalm, Catmint, Oregano, Yellow coneflower, cup plant, Ironweed, culver's root, Stiff goldenrod and Calico aster.