MOWING LESS OFTEN CAN HELP NATIVE BEES

        Increasing numbers of Georgia homeowners are striving to give our native bees a helping hand.  Some of the most popular things they are doing to help these valuable insects include providing them with nesting habitat, reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides and herbicides, and planting native plants that produce both pollen and nectar.  If you are looking for another way to promote the native bee population in your yard and neighborhood, simply mow your yard less often.

       Ecologists working for the United Forest Service made this recommendation after monitoring bee activity during the summer in 16 yards located in Springfield, Massachusetts.  They compared the number of bees found in these yards and learned there was more bee activity in lawns mowed every two weeks than those mowed weekly. In addition, the greatest bee diversity was found in those lawns mowed every three weeks.

       The ecologists attributed their findings to the fact that yards mowed every three weeks hosted more plants that provide the bees with pollen and nectar.

       Amazingly, during the study the researchers identified 111 species of insects, including 25 percent of the bees known to occur in the Bay State.

       The Susannah Lerman, lead author in a paper based on the study recently published in the journal Biological Conservation, stated, “We can all contribute to improving bee habitat in our own backyards.”

       If you do not enjoy pushing or riding a lawnmower around your yard any more than I do and want help give the bees a boost, you might want to mow your yard less often.  

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