Those traveling along US 41 may have noticed crews working for some time now.
They have been clearing brush, overgrown trees and more for driver safety.
This annual cleaning process also gives an insect a better shot at life.
It’s an unusual side affect to doing something that you’re supposed to.
With the highway departments clearing excess plants and trees, it’s making room for better pollination for Honeybees.
A small green sign located in the median of the Washington Exit shows how doing what you’re supposed to do, sometimes has an added benefit that no one plans for.
“It’s absolutely a side affect of proper maintenance of our highways,” says Jason Tiller, INDOT communications director. “It’s never been more important to have that type of side effect because you know, bees have been put on the endangered species list and it’s very important that they have habitat. They’re losing habitat left and right.”
It’s so important that conservationists are concerned about HB 1026, which is currently in committee.
It basically is a bill to expand road side mowing.
“Although, maybe road side mowing initially doesn’t sound like a bad idea, it would destroy the habitat and there for other habitat would go down and our number (of bees) would decrease,” says Kevin Cross, a Sullivan FFA adviser.
Bees are pollinators.
They have a very important job to do.
“Without pollinators like Honeybees, none of our crops be pollinated,” says Cross. “Therefore would not produce fruits so we wouldn’t have anything to eat.”
And Jason Tiller with INDOT realized this need.
Which is why they are working to improve and acknowledge “mow free” zones to protect Honeybee habitats.
“We have a responsibility to keep the right-of-way clear of all road hazards,” says Tiller. “You know, it’s one of our main pushes now, with our right-of-way maintenance. We wanna make sure that we keep that in mind.”
“We got people like INDOT and a lot of community groups putting in pollinator habitats because they know it’s important,” says Cross. “They know we need them for agriculture.”
Questions need to be answered.
How do we enhance that?” asks Tiller. “How do we keep that growth? We want to make sure we do our part to make sure that to make sure that the bees don’t go extinct.”
Honeybees have an estimated $14 billion impact on the Ag industry, and that’s just one pollinator.
So as you can imagine, this is a pretty big deal.
The green “pollinator habitat” signs can be found along US Highway 41.
Crews clearing hazardous materials from the right-of-way should conclude in a few weeks.