Minneapolis Health Department

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Conservation of Minneapolis Bees Project

 Conservation of Minneapolis Bees Project Graphic Banner 2016

 

 The C.O.M.B Project Mission

Mayor Hodges and the City Council passed a resolution calling attention to the dwindling local bee population in the City of Minneapolis. As a part of this resolution, the Environmental Services unit of the Health Department has created a website on how to create pollinator habitat and pollinator friendly practices. These resources should help pave the way for a more pollinator friendly community in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Pollinator Resolution

The Value of a Pollinator

  • Bees are the most famous pollinators. Other pollinators are butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, wasps, and some birds.
  • One-third of the food and drink produced in the United States depends on pollinators.
  • Pollinators keep plant communities healthy which in turn keeps our communities healthy.
  • More than $20 billion worth of annual products in the U.S. are produced by pollinators.

Want a Pollinator Garden? We can help.

Would you or your business like to host a pollinator patch or pollinator friendly tree?

If you are a commercial or multi-family residential property or a community space you may qualify for a pollinator patch with neonicotinoid free plants and/or pollinator friendly trees on your property. You would need to agree to host the pollinator patch.

Environmental Services has funding to plant 150 pollinator patch gardens and 100 pollinator friendly trees in two years. Hosts are needed to help with pollinator patch installation and with weekly watering and weeding. 

Interested in hosting a pollinator patch or pollinator friendly tree? Fill out this application and send it to beefriendly@minneapolismn.gov. If you have questions please call Tiana Cervantes at 612-673-3515.

Problems for Pollinators

  • Loss and Fragmentation of Habitat - pollinators are threatened because many areas where they feed and nest have been destroyed. Some key pollinators only forage 100 feet from their nests.
  • Disease and Parasites - many native bees are affected by parasites and disease carried by commercial bees that are moved from place to place.
  • Pesticides - areas being treated with chemical pesticides create a hazardous environment for pollinators trying to forage for food or nest in chemically treated soils.
  • For more information about issues pollinators are facing check out Major Threats to Pollinators through the Great Pollinator Project or this Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations that the White House posted.

Picture of a Pollinator Patch garden.

View suggested Pollinator Patch designs and a recommended plant list.

Environmental Services in partnership with THE BEEZ KNEEZ have been planting patches around the City. For more information visit  THE BEEZ KNEEZ

 

Pollinator Points Program

New in 2017, we are asking citizens to participate in the Pollinator Points Program. Join some of the research happening within the City of Minneapolis by helping figure out just how much pollinator habitat exists in the City. Each person who takes the 10 questions quiz will receive half a flat of native pollinator friendly plants, free signage, and a certificate. Participate by taking this survey.

 

The Four Steps to Creating Pollinator Habitat

Collect information about the size, soil, the sun exposure, plants already present, and chemical treatment history.

Identify what pollinators are present and what plants they seem to be gravitating to. This can help with plant selection.

Here is a link that the Xerces Society has created to help owners assess natural areas and rangelands. It also helps guide what should be down when restoring a site. 

 

Protect habitat and pollinators by avoiding or limiting the use of pesticides on the area. Some tips when using chemical treatments:

  1. Use chemicals without neonicotinoids

  2. Use chemicals with pollinator protection box

  3. Use less harmful alternatives such as organic-approved pesticides or pollinator friendly pest control.

  4. For more information about pesticides management visit managing pesticides to protect bees provided by the Xerces Society.
     

Step 3: Creation

When buying plants, ask your vendor if the plants and seeds were chemically treated. If a plant is treated with chemicals, it could potentially hurt pollinators. Beyond Pesticides provides a list of places that sell pollinator friendly seeds and plantings.

Pick a diversity of different native plant species of plant ranging with flowers varying in shape, color, length, and size. These difference help draw different kinds of pollinators.

Plant species that bloom in fall, spring, and summer. This will provide foraging areas throughout the seasons for different pollinators.

Leave spaces of bare area and plant native grasses to provide nesting material for bees. One can also create artificial nests to promote the bee population. The Xerces Society has created a link that shows how to create different types of nests for native bees.

Some great native plant lists can be found through the U of M, the U of M Bee Squad, the Xerces Society, and Prairie Moon Nursery.  

 

Step 4: Maintenance

Watering needs vary if seeds or transplants were used on a site. Transplants should be watered the first year depending on the condition of the site. As for seedlings, regular irrigation for the first few months can help promote growth.

Make sure to weed the areas that are going to have plants beforehand and continue to do so then the plants are installed.

Pollinator on coneflower    Many pollinators on a yellow flower    Pollinator on white flower

 

Special Consideration Sites

 Roadside Restoration

When dealing with roadside, invasive species have to be controlled and eradicated as much as possible before planting. Planting native plants that are already seen in the area may help push out and control invasive.

Make sure to use pollinator-friendly practices when it comes to treating invasive species. See above for details.

Information about Roadsides and a plant selector based on your assessment of the area:

  1. Best Management Practices for Roadsides and Right-Of-Ways - MN DOA
  2. Plant Selector for Roadside Plantings - MNDot

Lawn care

Leave clover and dandelions in your yard to provide foraging areas for bees.

Be conscious of how often and when you mow your lawn. Mowing every other week, and not mowing during blooming times, will benefit local pollinators.

Thinking about a lawn care service? Make sure you discuss your interest in conserving pollinators and their habitat with them.

 Additional Resources:
Minneapolis takes action to protect dwindling local bee population
What’s the Buzz? Raising Bees in the City of Minneapolis
Minnesota's Pollinators - MN DNR
Minnesota Pollinator Resources - MN DNR
Pollinator Best Management Practices for MN Yards and Gardens - MDA
Pollinator Conservation Resources - Great Lakes Region - Xerces Society
Landscaping with Native Plants - MN DNR
Pollinator Biology and Habitat - Natural Resource Conservation Service
Contact Environmental Services at: EnvironmentalServicesInfo@minneapolismn.gov and ask for Tiana Cervantes 

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Should you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-2301.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.
 

 

Last updated Mar 23, 2017

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Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

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