Wisconsin Town Helps Increase Bee Population With No-Mow May Initiative
We have all heard how the bee population in the United States is decreasing at an alarming rate and for many people they have made the effort of planting flowers to let dandelions cover their lawns in an effort to help out. But one town in Wisconsin vowed to take things even further.
The town of Appleton Wisconsin instituted an experiment called No-Mow May. The common council in the city of Appleton voted to allow residents to with hold from mowing their lawns for the month of May as a way to promote a pollinator friendly city for a variety of bees.
According to Postcrescent.com "A sampling of No Mow May lawns last week found a five-fold increase in bee abundance and a threefold increase in bee diversity in comparison to nearby parkland that was mowed regularly."
Israel Del Toro, an assistant biology professor at Lawrence University, said this shows that delaying cutting lawns for an extended period of time does benefit bee pollination. He went on to say per the Postcrescent.com "The big message here is that this shouldn't be a one-year trial experiment. This should become part of our regular culture. If we want to have a prolonged, positive effect on our pollinators, these are the types of practices that we should start considering as a community."
20 Appleton Homes participated in the program and professor Del Toro and a group of citizens used nets to sweep the yards and collect the bees storing them in mason jars so they could be counted and identified before being released. They found quite a variety of bees including honey bees, bumblebees, mason bees, sweat bees and carpenter bees.
Even with the success of this program it was limited to one month and will need to be voted on and authorized again next year. Some citizens were concerned about the No-Mow May saying the unkempt lawns will make the city look trashy and could aggravate pollen allergies.
Hopefully more cities will be on board to do something similar to this and the bee population can have time to repopulate. I personally don't see the harm in waiting 1 month especially in May when the weather in the upper Midwest can still be fairly cool.