Want to Help Bees? Leave the Dandelions Alone This Spring

In the last decades the count of the bee population has dangerously declined thus putting in danger its existence. The world needs the bees as they are the natural pollinators that pollinate one third of the corps that we consume on daily basis. They are a part of a valuable food chain for the humans and animals as well.

You may wonder, is there something we can do to keep this population alive? According to experts there is; by leaving the weed in our gardens and dandelions so that bees can come and thus help in their survival.

Jane Memmott, a professor at the Bristol University and leader of the British Ecological Society, recommends leaving the dandelions and buttercups when cutting the grass in our lawns. In this way we are helping the bees and keeping their population.

She says:

You can’t personally help tigers, whales, and elephants, but you really can do something for the insects, birds, and plants that are local to you.”

Furthermore, she added:

Think about what you’ve had for breakfast. The pumpkin seeds in your muesli, apples, whatever made the marmalade on your toast, or even the coffee beans and tea leaves that make up your morning cuppa—all of these products rely on pollinators to survive and thrive.”

We need to live in harmony with nature and since we have destroyed it so much we can put some effort in choosing the plants in our gardens, on the balcony, or the lawn, that can positively affect the local ecology.

Jane emphasizes the importance of having a plant with nectar and pollen parts that are visible so that the pollinators can come and use it. If the petals are not pulled back, the bees will come and visit our plants.

Plus, she recommends plants that are high in the production of nectar and pollen and avoid the ones with pom pom-shaped flowers since they do not have enough of these valuable materials.

She says:

Dandelions are fantastic for early season pollinators. The UK has about 270 species of solitary bee and they love dandelions.”

A senior ecologist at the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford,Dr. FitzPatrick, agrees with Memmott, stating the following:

Dandelions are a superfood for bees. Letting dandelions grow must not be seen as a sign of neglect or laziness.

We want it to be a conscious decision of people to let them grow to give hungry bees a chance to feed on them.

We need to change the perception that is so ingrained in people that dandelions are a weed. The presence of dandelions is very important to our wild bees that have such an important role in nature.”

Furthermore, it is explained:

A queen bumblebee must visit 6,000 flowers every day when she comes out of hibernation. Even if gardeners decided to allow dandelions to grow in certain areas of their gardens or allow them to grow even on one strip of grass or along the borders or on verges, it would be very helpful to wild bees.”

In addition to this, another expert, Ken Willis, Head of Horticulture at University of Alberta Botanic Garden, states the following:

 “There’s starting to be a lot more argument that they should be kept because of what they can do for pollinators. Ecologically they are becoming very important as a food source for domestic and wild species of bees, particularly in early spring because they grow so soon. Butterflies and moths also feed on them as a source of sugar, and some species of birds feed on dandelion seeds.”

However, you need to be aware of the fact that although honey bees adore dandelions, especially when there isn’t anything blooming in early spring and in times of dearth, they are still a mediocre food source for them. Dandelions are short of some amino acids required for the production of protein. Bees, just like most living creatures, needs a wide range of foods coming from many sources in order to be healthy.