MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The state of Minnesota wants to pay you to make your lawn bee friendly.

Buried in the state omnibus Environment bill is a new law that provides $900,000 to homeowners to create bee habitats on their lawns.

The one-year funding won’t be ready to distribute until next year, but its goal is to help revive the state’s declining bee population.

The wet cool spring has meant a slow start for bees, and the plants that keep them naturally buzzing. While the Minnesota legislature can’t do anything about the weather, it has provided a boost to create bee habitats.

The state’s board of water and soil resources will reimburse homeowners for planting bee-friendly plants, like creeping thyme, self-heal and dutch white clover.

James Wolfin is a graduate student who works at the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab.

“When people look at these flowers, they see a nuisance, they see a weed. I see a forage for pollinators,” Wolfin said.

RELATED: DNR: Minnesotans Should Be Concerned About Endangered Bee’s Survival

The grants will boost all bee populations, but especially the endangered rusty patch bumblebee which pollinates tomatoes and apples.

“One third of every bite you eat is due to a pollinator pollinating that plant,” Wolfin said.

Bee experts want us all to rethink what is a perfect lawn, starting with — believe it or not — the length of your grass. A longer cut is better, but you can still keep the basic look.

“We want you to still be able to have that family picnic, we want you to be able to have a catch on the lawn and we want you to put a little bit of food there to support the pollinators,” Wolfin said.

And he insists a bee-friendly yard isn’t a threat.

“In the three years I have been doing this research, I have only been stung two times. And one of these times a bumblebee got caught between the tongue of my shoe and my foot, so I really don’t blame her,” Wolfin said.

And again you won’t be able to apply for one of these grants until sometime next year. But WCCO-TV will stay on top of this story and let you know when that system is ready for applications.

Esme Murphy

Comments (20)
  1. James Wolfin says:

    Hey there, my name is actually spelled “Wolfin”, not Wilfin. More importantly, keep up the great coverage on bees and policies meant to support them =)!

  2. Lynn Fisher says:

    I’m thrilled! The smartest thing the state has ever done. We can no longer get apples to grow…there are just no bees to be found, and it was not always like that here. I remember walking in the fields as child and being practically sand blasted by the sheer variety of insects that lead to a rich eco system.
    NOW, where do we get info on this program? Thanks Esme!!

  3. Barbara Isaacson Walsh says:

    I am very anxiously awaiting this program as I would gladly participate .