Minnesota Will Pay Residents to Turn Lawns into Bee Sanctuaries
The government of Minnesota will soon be paying residents of the state to turn their lawns into bee-friendly habitats. The plan was approved by the state legislature last month and then signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz last week.
Over the next year, the state’s government will set aside $900,000 to help residents convert their laws into bee sanctuaries.
The plan is very simple. The traditional suburban lawn is not good for pollinators or the ecosystem in general, so this initiative seeks to diversify the plant life that people have around their homes, in hopes of creating an environment where bees can thrive.
James Wolfin, a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab and Turfgrass Science Lab, hopes that this measure will create a new trend.
“What I’d like to see from a philosophical standpoint is that communities and neighborhoods as a whole change their idea of what a perfect lawn looks like. Just to be more bee-aware and have more diversity in terms of what’s planted. If we can maintain the rec surfaces we all enjoy, but also maintain and improve the forage bees rely on, that would be a success,” Wolfin told KSTP.
Even if you don’t want to go through all the trouble of turning your property into an elaborate bee sanctuary, you can still make other simple steps to make your yard more bee-friendly. For example, plant species that grow in the grass that are often considered weeds can be a good source of pollen for bees, so keeping these plants in your garden is a small but important step to maintaining bee populations.
Travis Bolton a bee-worker from Minnesota, says that people kill plants in their yards that can be a huge help to bee populations.
“I go to the hardware store and I’ll see the person next to me purchase a whole cocktail of poisons to get rid of the Creeping Charlie or dandelions in their backyard. And if they don’t do it exactly right, they’re spraying the flowers where our bees go. So they’re really spraying the bees. Anything that gets more people to change that mindset of what a perfect lawn should be will have a big impact on every beekeeper in the state,” Bolton said.
Experts hope that this new initiative will catch on, and change the way that people think about lawns. Lawns shouldn’t be boring and sterile, but filled with life and sources of food, for humans and our animal and insect neighbors.
Bees are always in search of fresh water sources, but there are predators in creeks and rivers, and in deep areas like pools or birdbaths they risk drowning.
There are a variety of different ways that you can create a bee waterer, but the easiest way is to fill a shallow bowl or pan with water and then fill it with marbles, pebbles, or stones, as we have outlined in a previous report.
Earlier this year, Truth Theory reported that actor Morgan Freeman turned his 124-acre ranch in Mississippi into a sanctuary for bees. Freeman said that the bees seem to appreciate his help. He has never been stung while working with the bees, and he doesn’t even wear any protective gear.