May, June declared Honeybee Appreciation Months in Sioux Lookout
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
Help save the bees. That’s the thinking behind the recent trend to allow lawns to go uncut for the months of May and June. While many communities have adopted the slogan “No Mow May” and encourage homeowners to forego lawn maintenance for that month in particular, here in Sioux Lookout the campaign is called Honeybee Appreciation Months and extended to cover the months of both May and June.
At their March 16 regular meeting, Sioux Lookout Municipal Council voted to declare May and June 2022 “Honeybee Appreciation Months”; and further Council directed staff to allow residents yards’ to exceed the maximum height permitted (20 centimetres) for grass and/or weeds during the months of May and June 2022, pursuant to By-law No. 16-06, Being a By-law to Provide for the Maintaining of Land in a Clean and Clear Condition.
Honeybee Appreciation Months were also declared in 2021.
In an official proclamation supporting the campaign, Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance, notes that, “the honeybee is responsible for pollination of nearly three quarters of plants that produce 90% of the world’s food.”
So how exactly does the “no mow” movement aim to help?
The concept is relatively simple. As the days begin to warm and pollinators, including bees, begin to emerge, some of the first food sources available to them include things such as dandelion and other flowering plants that often pop up in yards and lawns. Holding off on mowing allows these early pollinators to get established until other food sources emerge.
The Government of Canada’s website (https://bit.ly/3NCvo3Q) states “Declines in honeybee and other pollinator populations have generated considerable scientific and public interest both in Canada and internationally. A number of factors are seen as potential contributors to these declines and no single factor has been identified as the cause. The available science suggests that multiple factors acting in combination may be at play, including loss of habitat and food sources, diseases, viruses and pests, and pesticide exposure.”
George Hoggarth is the Chair of the Sioux Lookout Environment Committee. As Hoggarth explains, making yards bee friendly can include more than just not mowing your lawn for May and June stating, “The idea is to promote bee friendly areas, the sort of things people can easily do at home.” One way to do that, says Hoggarth, is to have a variety of plant species that come into blossom at various times, so that throughout the growing season there is going to be something in bloom.
Hoggarth continued, “What we are trying to promote is people looking at their yards from a bee’s point of view. Provide places for them to feed and feed their young. We are talking about diversity, not having monocultures. You may not be able to eliminate your lawn, but you may be able to incorporate a bush here or there, or even look at how you could shrink your lawn without necessarily getting rid of it.”