Gardening & Outdoors
Minnesota wants to pay homeowners to replace lawns with bee-friendly plants and wildflowers
The idea is to create environments where bees can thrive. The bonus is the sheer beauty of it all. We hope to see more programs like this in the future.
Ma Fatima Garcia
12.22.21

Don’t you miss the vast grasslands, beds of flowers, and the beautiful bees and butterflies?

When was the last time you saw one of these?

Because of the pandemic, more people have become aware of nature’s beauty. Many have started gardening and even collecting plants.

Plants with a purpose

Pexels/Sunsetoned
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Pexels/Sunsetoned

This allowed many people to see gardening as a form of hobby. However, a few years back, you wouldn’t see any flowerbeds in homes or even in some parks.

That is why we don’t see any butterflies or bees anymore.

Bees and butterflies need plants to thrive

Pexel/Pixabay
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Pexel/Pixabay

Because native prairies no longer exist, our pollinators can only depend on urban lawn flowers. We need to act fast before it’s too late.

Enter Minnesota’s cash incentive

That is why the state of Minnesota has launched a program with a budget of $900,000 over one year to cover the cost of converting lawns into prairies.

The funds will assist homeowners who will enroll in the program.

Pexels/Jill Burrow
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Pexels/Jill Burrow

This program will help replenish the food sources of our precious pollinators.

Looking out for one bee in particular

The program centers on saving the rusty patched bumblebee. This bumblebee (Bombus affinis) is a type of bee that is fat and fuzzy.

They live in colonies and have a single queen and a lot of female workers. In late summer, the colony can produce new queens and males.

Like other bees, the queens are the largest among the rusty patched bumblebees, and the workers are the smallest in size.

Pexels/Hilary Halliwell
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Pexels/Hilary Halliwell

These beautiful bees are nearly extinct.

If we don’t do anything about it, our kids and grandkids would only be able to see them in photos.

Research made at the University of Minnesota showed that bumblebees contribute so much in their region.

Pexels/Karolina Grabowska
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Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

What they do is that when they land on flowering stems, they create a vibration, very close to a musical C note, amazing, right?

This phenomenon causes pollen to unlock.

From there, it makes its way to insects that can’t reach them.

The program suggests that homeowners stop mowing their lawns too often. They should also start planting small flowers, such as dandelions, ground plum, and Dutch white clover.

Pexels/Michael Hodgin
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Pexels/Michael Hodgin

These flowers make an excellent food source for the rusty patched bumblebees.

They’re low maintenance and very cheap.

“A pound of Dutch white clover is about $7 and it grows low enough that people wouldn’t even have to change the way they mow their lawn,” said Wolfin, a bee expert in the University of Minnesota.

Pexels/Kath Smith
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Pexels/Kath Smith

Almost 55 of Minnesota’s 350 bee species also depend on white clover alone, Wolfin said in his interview with Star Tribune.

This program doesn’t require too much work, and the homeowners will also get paid for agreeing to the terms.

Aside from that, we would see results and there’s nothing better than to see bees and butterflies flying around your garden.

“So just by not treating white clover like a weed and letting it grow in a yard provides a really powerful resource for nearly 20% of the bee species in the state,” Wolfin added.

Pexels/Kristina Paukshtite
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Pexels/Kristina Paukshtite

The program is ongoing.

Homeowners who live in the rusty patch bumblebee zones can get up to $500.

Those who live in secondary and tertiary locations where the bumblebees are found are eligible for $350 and $150, respectively.

If you live in Minnesota, you might want to check this out.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Ma Fatima Garcia
hi@sbly.com
Ma Fatima Garcia is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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