We are constantly being advised to eat a healthy, balanced, and high-quality food to ensure our health and well-being. Honey is one of the most powerful, versatile, nutrient-rich, and high-quality foods on the planet.
Bees are renowned for their role in its creation, as well as for providing royal jelly and pollen, propolis, beeswax, and honey bee venom. Yet, their importance goes far beyond this!
Bees protect and maintain ecosystems as well as animal and plant species, and contribute to genetic and biotic diversity. Together with other pollinators, they pollinate about three-quarters of the plants that produce 90% of our food, so a third of the world’s food production depends on bees.
Additionally, cultivated plants that depend on pollination are the main source of income for numerous farmers.
To bolster bee’s population, residents of Minnesota will soon be paid to turn their lawns into bee-friendly habitats, according to a plan that was approved by the state legislature and recently signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz.
The plump rusty patched bumblebee once buzzed all across the eastern United States, the upper Midwest, and parts of Canada, but nowadays its population has declined by about 90%.
It can still be found in Minnesota, so officials want to pay residents to turn their lawns into bumblebee havens.
For this cause, the state’s government will set aside $900,000 for the next year. The state representative who introduced the bill, Kelly Morrison, declared that she hopes the law goes into effect by next spring.
A major threat to the survival of bees is habitat loss, and most of the prairies and grasslands where they once roamed have been turned into “monoculture farms or developed areas.”
This is why experts have been encouraging homeowners to leave their grasses untreated and enrich lawns with flowering plants.
As the traditional suburban lawn is not good for pollinators or the ecosystem in general, the plan tries to create a thriving environment for bees by diversifying the plant life that people have around their homes.
James Wolfin, a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab and Turfgrass Science Lab, hopes this could trigger 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.”
Residents who are not willing to convert their property into an elaborate bee sanctuary can be of great help by making their yard more bee-friendly.
Travis Bolton a bee-worker from Minnesota, explains that people destroy plants in their yards that can be very helpful 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.”
Moreover, to raise awareness about the plight of the rusty patched bumblebee, Minnesota has made it the state’s official bee.
Bumblebees are crucial for the ecosystem, pollinating wildflowers, as well as crops like blueberries, cranberries, apples, and tomatoes.
Experts believe the initiative will change the way people see lawns, and they can become full of life, and sources of food for people, animals, and insects.
The simplest way to help bees is to make a bee waterer for your home, as bees are always in search of fresh water. Just fill a shallow bowl with water, and fill it with pebbles, marbles, or stones.