This spring, consider putting a hold on mowing your lawn, raking up leaves or cleaning up your garden. At the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, we encourage you to participate in No Mow May. This is an easy initiative to support native bees that are in danger.

Bees are critically important pollinators to our local Southeastern Wisconsin ecosystem, and in the winter they hibernate in our yards: under leaf piles, branches and in holes in the ground. If we clear our yards early, we may be eliminating these important pollinators before they have emerged from hibernation. The other important reason to delay the yard cleanup every year is because our lawns naturally grow the resources that bees require to survive, including dandelions, clover, and naturally occurring spring flowers. If all we do is wait to mow our lawns, then bees will be given more time to have the food and resources they need to survive!

Even if you can’t leave your entire yard alone through May, consider the backyard or at least a section. Make sure you check your local ordinances on lawn-height requirements and obey your city, village or town laws. For information or to print a sign for your house, go to

Did you know?  The rusty patched bumble bee was placed on the Federal Endangered Species List after surveys found a 90% drop in population abundance. This bumble bee species used to be found in 31 states but is now limited to 10 states in the Midwest region. Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois have been highlighted as priority habitat for rusty patched bumble bee conservation.

Follow the Zoological Society’s journey of Now Mow May on Facebook and Instagram. Some lucky followers will win pollinator plant seeds.


About the Zoological Society of Milwaukee:

The mission of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee is to conserve wildlife and endangered species, educate people about the importance of wildlife and the environment, and support the Milwaukee County Zoo.