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What bees need: village opts out of conservation effort

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-26 18:59:08-04

FOX CROSSING (NBC 26) — Communities have participated in the "No mow May," initiative for years. The idea is from a now retracted Lawrence University study. Since researchers pulled the paper, Fox Crossing says it's out.

  • Communities like Howard are still planning on participating in "No mow May," where people can stop mowing their lawns for the month to help conserve habitats for pollinators
  • The idea was first brought to the United States by a 2020 research study out of Lawrence University in Appleton which has since been retracted
  • A Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist says there are other ways to help pollinators like beesduring the Spring

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

With spring in the air, we can also expect to see more bees. I'm Pari Apostolakos reporting in Brown County, where a biologist shares how to help native pollinators. Plus, why one village opts out of an initiative that was thought to help.

"Some people say one in three bites of food have been touched by a pollinator like bees," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Biologist Jay Watson said.

Communities across northeast Wisconsin have participated in the "No mow May," initiative for years. The idea: don't mow for a month to help preserve pollinator habitats.

"The other thing you can really do to help pollinators is have a resource for them from spring, summer, and fall," Watson said.

He encourages planting white dutch clovers or Virginia bluebells, and, he says don't weed things like dandelions.

But, when it comes to parking your lawn mower for a month, that idea came from a now-retracted research study out of Lawrence University.

Since researchers pulled the paper in 2022 over potential data inconsistencies, the village of Fox Crossing says it's out.

"We didn't find it that effective," Fox crossing community development director George Dearborn said. He says they encourage helping pollinators in other ways.

"We strongly encourage native vegetation, which we wouldn't require that to be mowed if you're doing natural yards," Dearborn said. "All our detention ponds, we put native vegetation around those ... We just found that not mowing the lawn really doesn't make much difference."

If you do plan to take part in the no mow movement, Watson has another tip.

"One thing I would say that's really beneficial to pollinators and other insects is either reducing your amount of pesticides on your lawn or if you can eliminate them totally," he said.