Iowans Trying To Help Bees Could Actually Be Doing The Opposite
We work hard to make our lawns look good when it comes to our lawns. People spend hours keeping the grass cut and weed-free; all while maintaining a lush green yard.
Cedar Falls residents were encouraged to participate in “No Mow May” to help promote richer pollinator communities. As we head into June, many people who held off their first mowing are finally getting out to care for their lawns.
So how does not mowing your lawn help bees?
By mowing your lawn less, you are creating a habitat of abundance and diversity of wildlife for bees and other pollinators. Appleton, Wisconsin tested this theory out and found that not mowing in May did help create an abundance of bees and pollinators in the area.
So by not mowing, you are letting flowers such as dandelions and clovers grow in your yard, but some say leaving dandelions behind is not as good for the bees as you may think.
Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Katie Buckley says that these dandelions lack the acids and minerals that honeybees need for a balanced diet and that the best way to help is to plant a variety of flowers. She tells Pacific Northwest Ag Network that a variety of colors, sizes, and bloom schedules can help the bees while still making your yard look good.
People’s yards, and people’s small properties, when added up together really make up a large area, and if all of those people were creating habitats for pollinators, we probably wouldn’t be pollinator deficit right now. People don’t need to become a beekeeper and own hives to be able to help honeybees, they really just need to plant more flowers and spray fewer pesticides.
This does not mean you need to eradicate dandelions in your yard forever. Seeing bees on dandelions is a common site, however, a hive can not survive on just dandelion pollen. Dandelions lack vital amino acids and nutrients a hive needs.
Burley says the average honeybee will travel up to two miles to search for pollen, so those potted plants at apartments do help.
It’s going to take all of us making small changes sometimes, over time, to really get where everyone and everything around us is doing healthier.
And if you are not a fan of the maintenance that comes with flowers, Buckley says you can get trees and shrubs that help pollinators.