Nfld. & Labrador

Put away the lawn mower! Bay Bulls asks residents to stop cutting weeds, to help feed the bees

A town on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula is asking its residents to hold off on mowing their lawns so bees can have more time to feed on the weeds that grow there.

Town council opting to let weeds grow in front of town hall as example to community

Bees depend heavily on dandelions for food this time of year. (CBC)

A town on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula is asking its residents to hold off on mowing their lawns so that bees can have more time to feed on the weeds that grow there.

Bay Bulls launched its Pardon the Weeds, We're Feeding the Bees campaign after seeing social media posts from local gardening store Pat's Plants & Gardens. The posts described how mowing your lawn early in the season can cut off a crucial food supply for local bee populations.

The Town of Bay Bulls is asking residents to not mow the weeds around their properties for a few weeks so that bee populations can have adequate food at the start of the season. (CBC)

Coun. Joan Luby saw the posts and got town council to join the effort by sharing the same message on social media and by posting the slogan on its website.

According to deputy town clerk Ashley Wakeham, the town felt it was an important cause to get behind.

"The global situation with bees is really scary," she told the St. John's Morning Show. "In Ontario right now they're gearing up for an almost 90 per cent loss after the winter."

Even the lawn around the Bay Bulls town hall, seen here, will go unmowed for the next few weeks to set an example for the rest of the community. (Town of Bay Bulls)

Ontario has seen its population nearly decimated since the first big noticeable drop in 2011, but Newfoundland has actually been called a "rare bee haven" by the Canadian Honey Council because numbers have stayed mostly healthy here.

That group is currently investigating why bees in Newfoundland are still doing well, and haven't been ravaged the same way other parts of Canada and the U.S. have been.

"We're relatively unaffected," Wakeham said. "A lot of that comes from the distance from the mainland and the distance from the mites and parasites affecting them there."

Bee populations are under threat throughout North America, but still are doing well in Newfoundland. (Getty Images)

While it may look a bit unsightly to have unkempt lawns throughout town with dandelions and weeds growing tall, Wakeham said it's a small price to pay for a few weeks if it means bees can thrive in the region.

She said unlike some communities, there are no bylaws in place that require people to maintain their lawns, and even the town office is neglecting its lawn as an example for everyone else.

Just for a few weeks

Residents are also now asking other communities and groups such as Memorial University to do the same as Bay Bulls, so  Newfoundland can hold on to its reputation as a bee-friendly island.

"We're not asking for the full summer or forever, we're just asking for a few weeks to give the bees a good start," Wakeham said.

"I've seen a lot of lawns that still have the dandelions still left there and we haven't had any negative comments."

With files from St. John's Morning Show