CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — We first brought you the story of 'No Mow May' on Monday, when we told you about the executive order from Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren.
The order declared the city's participation in 'No Mow May,' the trend that calls for homeowners to hold out on mowing their lawns for an entire month. The movement's intention is to encourage more eco-consciousness, by letting grass and plants grow to help pollinators like butterflies, birds, and bees -- giving them food and shelter early in the spring season.
For 37 years, Gene McCune has owned McCune Family Apiaries, the largest beekeeping operation in Geauga County. He says the start of the spring is essential for pollination.
The first food in the spring for pollinators like bees are dandelions and maple leaves, they need them to feed their young and get their colonies working. McCune says area bees and pollinators are in trouble and need all the help they can get, in fact, for the last 15 years, Northeast Ohio has actually had to feed their bees.
"The honey flow usually starts here in Northeast Ohio about the first of June and its over in the middle of July," McCune says. "After that time, we go into a dearth where there's nothing in bloom and so we need to supplement some of their food source."
So McCune advises homeowners to take breaks in between mowing or leave a patch for pollinators instead of not mowing your lawn for an entire month.
"The dandelions and the top of the maple trees are the first food in the spring. The bees have to build up their hive to feed their young and get the colonies working, so I usually tell my neighbors to be gentle with the dandelions and mow every other week. Or mow a patch and leave a patch of dandelions. But the concept of not mowing your whole lawn for a month is not feasible and unnecessary," he says.
McCune adds that here in Northeast Ohio, bees only have about six weeks to make honey. Disrupting or cutting off a pollinator's food source is dangerous.
"They will actually start cannibalizing their eggs for food to survive and therefore the hive will not build up," he explains. "Eventually the hive will dwindle. When there's no food coming into the hive, the queen senses that and quits laying egg and eventually the hive will die."