How mowing your lawn less could help save the bees
By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
If you forget to mow your grass for a couple of weeks, it turns out you might be doing a favor for the environment.
Susannah Lerman, a research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, and her collaborators studied whether different lawn mowing frequencies (one, two or three weeks) influenced bee abundance and diversity in herbicide-free suburban yards in Springfield, Massachusetts.
"Mowing lawns less frequently provides an additional opportunity for householders to support bee conservation," Lerman said.
"Mowing less frequently is practical, economical and a time-saving alternative to lawn replacement or even planting pollinator gardens," Lerman said.
Frequent mowing inhibits the growth of “weedy” species which include dandelions and clover.
Since widespread population declines of bees and other pollinators from habitat loss are a growing concern, spontaneous flowers such as dandelions and clover could provide pollen and nectar sources throughout the growing season.
The team experimentally tested whether different lawn mowing frequencies of one, two or three weeks influenced bee abundance and diversity in 16 suburban western Massachusetts yards by increasing lawn floral resources.
"Lawn-dominated yards, when mowed less frequently and not treated with chemicals, can support surprisingly high numbers of bees and species diversity," Lerman said.
I am holding off mowing my lawn just for them - the lawn is a bit of a mess but the bees are loving it 🐝— South London Potager (@potager_cook) May 6, 2018
Lawns mowed every three weeks had as much as two-and-a-half times more lawn flowers than the other frequencies.
The results highlight that a “lazy lawnmower” approach is best for providing bee habitat.
The researchers reported the lawns mowed every two weeks had the greatest number of bees but the lowest diversity compared to the other two mowing intervals.
5 ways you can offset declining bee populations with your garden
How would a species' extinction impact the food web, our ecosystems?
How to keep your plants from wilting in the summer heat
How plant-based diets can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent
5 low-maintenance plants that can purify the air in your home, office
Given habitat loss coupled with other factors, the findings provide immediate solutions for individual households to contribute to urban conservation.
If you live in an urban area without a yard but have a porch, the Xerces Society has a list of plants for particular regions that are beneficial to bees.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 12:03:39 PM EST
The recent period of stormy weather from India to Afghanistan will continue this week as a potent storm brings widespread impacts to the region.
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 1:37:35 PM EST
Yosemite is one of the most beautiful and well-known national parks in the United States, and visitors in mid-February may be treated to a spectacle not seen during any other time of the year.
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 11:46:48 AM EST
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 10:19:35 PM EST
Through this weekend, the risk of flooding rainfall will extend from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys as well as the southern Appalachians.
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 11:04:58 AM EST
After battering parts of Vanuatu with heavy rain and gusty winds last week, Tropical Cyclone Oma will unleash dangerous weather on New Caledonia into Wednesday.
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 8:39:53 AM EST
The tropics in the western Pacific Ocean may activate this week with potential impacts on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands this weekend.
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 7:44:06 PM EST
A late-week storm with a reinforcing shot of cold air will bring snow to both the high and low elevations of the western United States, with the potential for a significant snowfall in the Southwest.
Weather News - February 18, 2019, 2:51:55 PM EST
A major storm is poised to roll up the Eastern Seaboard, bringing snow, ice and difficult travel to the Midwest and Northeast at midweek.