Another city in the United States is taking necessary measures to protect our pollinating insects – which are essential for the growth of many crops, and a healthy food supply overall. St. Paul, Minnesota recently approved a resolution which is meant to encourage the township and citizens to limit the use of harmful pesticides and add more native plants in landscaping.
Helping to maintain a healthy population of pollinating insects is essential for a healthy food supply. The bees and butterflies make sure we have a veritable host of delicious foods to eat, from apples and pears, to cashews and celery. Hundreds of foods need pollinators to grow, but with the spraying of tons of neonicotinoid pesticides every year, we are killing our bees and butterflies. That’s why St. Paul, Minnesota is making moves to buck that trend.
Minnesota is the sixth largest honey-producing state in the US, so pollinators are essential. For that reason, city council members officially committed to making St. Paul more pollinator friendly this week.
Cy Kosel, natural resource manager with St. Paul Parks and Recreation, said:
“Not everything that we have always thought of as a pest is a pest.”
Native bees and other pollinators are vital to agriculture, but their numbers have declined drastically across the country. The decline is most likely a result of a combination of factors such as pesticides, parasites, and loss of natural flowering habitat, often caused by mono-cropping, chemical fertilizer and herbicide use, and the planting of GMOs which requires profuse use of these toxic chemicals.
The new council resolution to develop an “Integrated Pest Management” program which requires site inspections and an evaluation of the need for pest control should help save the bees. When pest control is needed, non-chemical methods will be used first, according to the resolution. Adding more butterfly- and bee-friendly plants while educating the public will also help save the pollinators
The resolution does not rule out the use of pesticides in all instances, such as athletic fields, but the city has tried to introduce native plants whenever possible to attract more native insect diversity, including predators, so fewer pests persist.
Places within the city of St. Paul, like the Como Conservatory gardens, are already maintained without pesticides.