State seeks fairgoers' help for honeybees

Honeybee collecting pollen
A state agency is asking Minnesota State fairgoers to support a new campaign to protect pollinators like honeybees in their yards and farms.
Judy Griesedieck / For MPR News

A state agency is asking Minnesota State Fairgoers to sign onto a new campaign to protect pollinators like honeybees in their yards and farms.

The campaign by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture aims to increase the public's awareness of how pollinators like bees, wasps, moths and other insects contribute to our food system, said Assistant Commissioner Matt Wohlman. The one-year campaign asks fairgoers to become "pollinator heroes."

"We're really asking folks to take a hard look and reduce, create and improve," Wohlman said. "We're asking people to ... make a commitment to our pollinators in Minnesota."

Wohlman said the campaign offers tips on how to nurture ecosystems by planting pollinator-friendly species. It also contains recommendations on how to cut back on unnecessary pesticide use.

"There's not one single cause to the collapse of some of our pollinator species," Wohlman said. "It's a systemic problem on many different levels, so we need to make progress on all of those."

Pollinator populations have declined precipitously in Minnesota and across the United States in recent years. In 2013, the state Legislature ordered the agency to come up with a set of best practices to protect pollinators on roadsides, lawns, gardens and farms.

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