Due to an unusually warm and late start to the fall season most of the trees in the Rockford area still have their leaves so the annual tradition of raking up your leaves hasn't started yet.

When it does happen, the ethically-environmental thing to do might be to leave them where they are.

This is all according to The University of Minnesota Bee Lab in St. Paul.

According to the Bee Lab, (and where else would you get your bee news from?) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering putting the American bumblebee on the endangered species list.

The significant drop in bee population isn't a new story. It's been known for a while that the bee population is in trouble and the fallout in the near future could be disastrous.

No bees isn't a left or right issue. That's an everyone issue. No bees = a very bad time for humanity.

So what does this have to do with raking leaves? Great question.

The University of Minnesota Bee Lab suggests to "leave some messy piles of leaves in the corner of your yard. This will give queen bees somewhere to nest for the winter. If the queen doesn't make it, no one makes it.

While they suggest that you only need to leave a couple piles of leaves in your yard, I think for the good of humanity, we should just leave all the leaves on the ground this year. If it's good enough for Yellowstone, it's good enough for your Illinois home.

Some other bee friendly tips from a Master Gardener:

  • Leave some bare soil. She is talking about your flower beds. Bees can't burrow through the mulch that covers many of our flower beds.
  • Leave some flower stems. She actually suggests that you don't cut back old stems until the following summer. Bees can lay eggs in the dried stems of dead flowers.
  • In addition to leaves, leave some brush around your yard. It's just another safe haven for nesting queens.

Be sure to have this article handy when a nosy neighbor asks you to clean up your yard this fall. Just tell them you're doing it for the planet. I'm sure they'll understand.

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