Minneapolis urges gardeners to protect local bees
Gardeners can help by planting food for pollinators, avoiding pesticides
For planting season, the City urges all Minneapolis gardeners, landscapers and farmers to protect pollinators. That means avoiding pesticides that poison bees, butterflies and other pollinators both by avoiding applying pesticides and avoiding buying plants that were already treated. Protecting pollinators also means landscaping or gardening with the kinds of plants that nourish pollinators.
Pollinator populations are in sharp decline because of an ongoing loss of plants that feed and shelter them combined with a large-scale expansion of pesticide use by homeowners, landscapers, property managers and farmers. Neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides have been shown to kill and weaken bees and other pollinators.
One-third of the food and drink produced in the U.S. depends on bees, butterflies and other pollinators. We need healthy pollinators for healthy communities in Minneapolis, a healthy ecosystem and a healthy food supply.
A 2015 resolution commits the City to not using pesticides and encourages property owners to do the same. Alternatives to pesticides can cost less while dramatically boosting habitat for pollinators.
Free “seedles” for pollinators
The City of Minneapolis is giving away free “seedles” at certain Minneapolis farmers markets (while supplies last) during Pollinator Week June 17-23. Seedles are wildflower seed balls that help provide healthy plants – food and shelter for pollinators – in yards and boulevards.
Best annuals for pollinators
Homegrown Minneapolis is partnering with the University of Minnesota Extension’s Flowers for Pollinators study to support pollinator health and habitat at four gardens leasing land through the Minneapolis Garden Lease Program. While there’s a lot of research on how native plants help pollinators, there’s not much on the interaction of pollinators and annual flowers. During the pilot, annual flower beds and signs installed at each garden will encourage community members to help observe which annual flowers best attract pollinators.
The top five annuals most attractive to pollinators in 2018 were:
1. Melampodium “Showstar” – gold flowers, up to 18” high
2. Helenium “Dakota Gold” – yellow flowers, up to 12” high
3. Salvia “Purple Fairy Tale” – purple flowers, up to 12” high
4. Salvia “Summer Jewel Pink” – pink and white flowers, up to 24” high
5. Zinnia “Envy” – pale green flowers, up to 20” high
Find more resources and information about how to protect pollinators here: www.minneapolismn.gov/environment/bees.
May 31, 2019
Published May 31, 2019