Dandelions Are Bees' Best Friends

Letting the little yellow flowers grow in your lawn will make it a pollinators' paradise.

Mar 1, 2020

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Dandelions have great benefits for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. They have a long flowing season that begins in early spring – when the bees emerge from hibernation – through May. This simple yellow flower, according to the Buzz About Bees, provides much needed nourishing nectar and pollen for the hungry bees.

But dandelions are much more popular with pollinators than with people. If you are like most people who have lawns or gardens, these perennial flowers are thought of as annoying weeds that need to be pulled up by the roots and destroyed.

The Guardian said, that besides bumblebees, honey bees, various insects like beetles, hoverflies and butterflies use the nectar from the flowers as food. House Sparrows and Goldfinches eat the seeds. Let the dandelions grow and you will be able to spot nature's beauty on your lawn.

Since pollinators have been declining at an alarming rate, the US has lost over 30 percent of its bee colonies to colony collapse every year beginning in 2006 according to a Penn State survey. Now, seven species of bees are on the US endangered species list.

Since so many of the world's crops rely on pollination, this is a critical situation. But we can all do our part and leaving the dandelions alone is just one of many possible solutions.

The solution may be easier than many people think. One way is to plant more wildflowers in your gardens, streets, and on farmland.

In Minnesota, the state passed legislation last year to pay homeowners to transform their lawns into bee-friendly habitats filled with wildflowers, cover and flowering bushes. The loss of the natural prairies and other bee habitat made these transformations of lawns vitally important.

You can also stop using pesticides on your lawn. While the cause of colony collapse is not 100 percent certain, pesticide use is a very likely cause.

Another way to help our buzzing friends is to put out Bee Saving Paper, to replenish food for tired bees to allow them to fly further when they search for nectar. The paper is like a glucose energy drink for bees.

So before you take a lawn mower of weed Wacker to the dandelions on your lawn, reconsider because besides being bees' best friends, these flowers have many other valuable uses. The leaves are full of vitamins and antioxidants and can be put into salads. The flowers can be made into wine or tea and the roots can be ground up (after the growing season ends) and used as a coffee-like beverage.

Just make sure you leave some for the bees and other critters too.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.