With planting season in full swing, the city of Minneapolis is urging gardeners to help protect the dwindling bee population by not using pesticides or plants treated with them.
The population of pollinators — bees, butterflies and other insects — is in sharp decline because of the ongoing loss of plants that feed and shelter them and the widespread use of pesticides by homeowners, landscapers and commercial property owners, the city said last week in a news release.
Neonicotinoids and other pesticides can kill or weaken bees, which are necessary to growing vegetables and a healthy ecosystem in general.
In 2015, the city passed a resolution saying it would not use pesticides on city properties, and it began encouraging property owners to follow suit.
Now it’s asking residents to survey the pollinator habitat in their own yards.
People who answer 10 questions in its “pollinator points survey” from Tuesday to Friday can win free plants and seeds.
The first 190 people to reply will get vouchers in the mail to pick up five free native, pesticide-free perennial plants June 22-24. Others can claim wildflower seed bundles and pollinator “push gardens,” which are containers that hold wildflower seeds and nutrient-rich growing material.
For more information, go to minneapolismn.gov/environment/bees.