Water a dandelion and save a bee | AspenTimes.com

Water a dandelion and save a bee

Every child appreciates the beauty of springtime dandelions. Adults, not so much. For incomprehensible reasons, as we grow older, our juvenile appreciation of May’s golden gift gives way to disgust. Hence society’s obsession with poisoning dandelions, mowing them, digging them up.

Meanwhile, honeybees and other pollinators face a juggernaut of environmental stresses. They include pesticides, diseases, parasitic mites, and incomplete and insufficient nutrition.

The most important spring flower for bees is the dandelion. Given sufficiently warm weather, bees recovering from the stress of winter go forth in April and May to feast on nutritious dandelion pollen and nectar. In a short period, they can store prodigious quantities of dandelion honey. Bees that miss the dandelion honey flow can deplete their leftover winter food stores and starve, before other important flowers begin yielding nectar in late May and June.

Dandelions are key to honey bee survival. If you are interested in helping bees, please don’t kill their favorite flowers. Instead, water them. You can plant other blooming plants to help our pollinators, but the easiest, most useful thing you can do is to encourage the dandelions already growing in your yard.

Dandelions are not only good for our environment; they’re lovely to look at. You don’t believe me? Ask any child.

Ed Colby

New Castle

President, Colorado State Beekeepers Association