Minnesota is on the verge of passing a landmark piece of legislation that will incentivize people to transform their yards into bee-friendly gardens. Under the new bill, which is awaiting the signature of Minnesota’s Governor Tim Waltz, a total of $900,000 will be allocated to cover up 75 percent of the expenses associated with transitioning outdoor space into a flowering garden that attracts the indigenous and endangered rusty patch bumble bee.
Like most bees, the rusty patch bumble bee population is declining rapidly. It is indigenous to North America and can be identified by a rusty-colored patch on the back of the male worker bees’ back. The species has declined by 87 percent over the last two decades mainly due to habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use.
Minnesota isn’t the only state to have introduced such a bill. In fact, states like Michigan, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Montana have all implemented programs that encourage landowners to attract and host these important pollinators.