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June 20, 2018

Are you 'bee-friendly'? U of MN Extension survey shows Minnesotans improving yards and gardens

ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/20/2018) –Is your garden pollinator-friendly? What about your neighbors?

“The good news is people are trying,” said Julie Weisenhorn, Extension horticulture educator. “People are being more careful when it comes to pesticides and the plants they chose to grow.”

To help gardeners, University of Minnesota Extension launched a pollinator landscape survey in 2017, the first university-based online tool of its kind. So far, more than 950 people have taken the five-minute survey.

The first year of the survey showed more gardeners stop and think before using pesticides. Nearly half never use them and more than a third reported they might use chemicals if they thought a plant was going to die from disease or insect damage.

“It shows that people are stopping and thinking about it before they’re reaching for the spray bottle,” Weisenhorn said. “In the past, people would say, ‘something is chewing on my leaves, I need to spray.’ Hopefully, they are first identifying what’s going on before assuming it’s a problem.”

Survey signals improvements--and ways to do better 

The survey shows what gardeners are doing well and what they can improve, including:

Plant diversity helps pollinators. Eighty-six percent of respondents have both native and non-native plants and Weisenhorn believes there is room for both in our landscapes.

Only half the respondents planted blooms for spring (April-May) and fall (September and October). “The bees that become early active in the season and hang around in the fall all need healthy nectar and pollen,” she said. “Start thinking about what you’ll plant this fall.”

More education is needed on creating habitat for ground and stem-nesting native bees, which rely on leaves and flower stems. Leave some leaf litter and stems for cover and nesting.

Minnesotans can take the survey any time at The survey also connects participants to more information on creating pollinator-friendly yards, gardens and fields.

More resources for gardeners

The Extension horticulture team offers a regular newsletter by email to provide Minnesotans research-based, practical information on yards and gardens. To subscribe, visit:

More on yard and garden is available at


Media Contact: Allison Sandve, Extension news media manager,, 612-626-4077 (office) or 651-492-0811 (mobile); Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator,, 612-625-1925 (office).

For more news from U of M Extension, visit or contact Extension Communications at University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.


May 21, 2018

U of M Extension resources help assess prevented planting options

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April 17, 2018

Citizen science blooms in Twin Cities with City Nature Challenge

ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/16/2018)—People of all ages and science backgrounds can take part in an international nature challenge set for April 27 to 30 across the Twin Cities metro area.

April 10, 2018

Help identify an invasive species before it spreads to crops, gardens

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April 03, 2018

For farmers and citizen scientists, ways to promote healthy crops and landscape

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With growing season on the horizon, Extension scientists are asking for Minnesotans help to better understand invasive plants and insects and reduce the harm they cause.

March 27, 2018

Farm incomes take another dip in 2017

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February 02, 2018

Extension educator Carlson recognized by corn growers as Friend of Agriculture

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 2, 2018)—University of Minnesota Extension crops educator Brad Carlson was recognized recently with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s annual “Friend of Agriculture” award.
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