Pesticide Free Forage - In Your Front Yard!

Pollinator Stewardship Council  By Michele Colopy  August 8, 2014

As beekeepers we need to set an example, and start planting forage for our bees. Whether you live on a city lot, have an acre in the suburbs, or a small farm in the country, you too can provide, should provide, pesticide free forage for your honey bees and native pollinators.

After clarifying city regulations it was determined lawn grass could not exceed eight inches in height in my city, but flowers had no height restriction. So, I could provide pesticide free forage for pollinators in the city. To kill the grass in the front yard it was covered with clear plastic to solarize the lawn.  The lawn was solarized over eight weeks, killing the grass. After eight weeks the plastic was removed, the dead grass mowed and raked off the lawn. No herbicides were used, nor was the soil tilled. A path across the yard was made for the postal carrier so they would not trample any flowers. Seeds were mixed, per the directions, with sand, and spread across the “yard.” A pollinator mix, and a butterfly and hummingbird seed mix were combined. Within 10 days the seeds had sprouted. Within a month the yard was filling in with a variety of flowers. By the end of July you can see a floral variety has blossomed. All of the pollinators are enjoying the flowers. A bumble bee nest has developed at the side of the house so they can easily access pollen and nectar. The front yard is visited by large and small native bees, my Italian honey bees, butterflies, sulfurs, and more.

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