Why Bees Are So Important to Our Planet, and Our Gardens in Minnesota
Bees are some of the most industrious life forms on Earth, and we owe much gratitude to this amazing yet often under appreciated insect due to their unbelievably hard work.
They are responsible for pollenating up to 20% of our planet's flowering plants, and over 400 agricultural plant varieties. So they're important to our food supply, which makes them an extremely significant factor in local, national, and global ecosystems.
Bees and Your Minnesota Garden
Here are a few things you can do in your garden to help your local bees:
Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers - Here are a few examples of good plant varieties: Spring – lilacs, penstemon, lavender, sage, verbena, and wisteria. Summer – Mint, cosmos, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, oregano, rosemary, poppies, black-eyed Susan, passion flower vine, honeysuckle. Fall – Fuschia, mint, bush sunflower, sage, verbena, toadflax.
Don't user chemicals or pesticides in your garden or lawn - Though they can help make your lawn look fantastic, they are actually doing the opposite in terms of damage to life in the biosphere - especially if plants are flowering.
Weeds Can be Good - Consider allowing dandelions and other wildflowers (weeds) to bloom and flower before cutting them back or pulling. Bees love them.
Buy Local, Raw Honey - Send a message!
here is an article that covers some of the great research being done at The Bee and Pollinator Research Lab at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus:
Grow with KARE: Bee and pollinator lab
ST. PAUL - Our native bees and honey bees across North America are in trouble, and for many years, researchers have been trying to determine what is causing their populations to decline. All of this research in Minnesota is now happening under one roof
"This building brings together about 8 different locations that we used to have on campus into one location." said Becky Masterman, Bee Squad.
The Bee and Pollinator Research Lab at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus opened last fall and is the first research center in the region to combine native bee and honey bee research. According to the Minnesota DNR there are more than 400 types of bees in Minnesota and while I was there they were continuing to expand their collection of bees and pollinators in their collections.
The technical lab is the place where most of our bee research is taking place, and today they are trying to analyze the DNA one one of our native bees.
"Bee research is important because we've seen our honeybees decline for the last 10 years in health and we lose one-third of them every year." said Masterman.
They also have the Mann Lake Extraction room where surplus honey is extracted from the hives.
Outside the lab, the building will be surrounded by flowers that provide nectar and pollen, the food needed for bees, also a place for them to live.
This sandstone sculpture, outside the bee and pollinator lab is not just designed to be pretty, but also is a home for our native bees.
We are just really trying to keep bees healthy. Bee health has been in decline and we are worried about our honey bee health, and we are also worried about our wild native bee species in Minnesota and throughout the country. We are trying to support all bees here." said Masterman.
Research will continue to see how we can improve bee health in the future.
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