And honey bees love them!

Photo Credit: Facebook - York County Beekeepers Association in Pennsylvania

Many people consider dandelions to be weeds and most will go to great lengths to get rid of them on their property. It turns out that dandelions are not weeds, but are actually from the same family as sunflowers. A dandelion seed can travel up to 5 miles before it lands which is why they grow so easily. Also, every part of the dandelion is edible, and one cup of dandelion greens equals 535 % of your daily recommended vitamin K and 112 % of vitamin A. Up until the 1800’s, dandelions were seen as extremely beneficial. People actually grew full lawns of dandelions instead of grass because they were so well revered. Dandelion is French for dent de lion, which translates to lion’s tooth since the leaves of the plant have teeth on them. They grow pretty much anywhere they can including on your lawn, in cracks of cement and in your flower beds. They flower all year long, but the flowers are at their best in the springtime until about May. Since they are one of the very first flowers to emerge after winter, they are a food source for honey bees and other insects and animals. Bumblebees and honeybees both love the pollen they get from dandelions but since most people do away with the so-called weeds, sometimes they're not given a fair chance to get to the pollen before the plants are killed off.

People spray for dandelions, so they don't ruin their lawns, but in doing so, they are creating a toxic environment for the bees as well as taking away their early food supply. It's a good thing that dandelions are very resilient, and they keep coming back unless they are killed off by pesticides. Even if there is one dandelion in your yard, that will quickly turn into plenty of dandelions which is a great way to save the honey bees and to save the bees in general, all types of bees. There are many seeds on one dandelion head which float through the air to create even more plants. Also, even if just a portion of the root is left behind, the odds are that it will regrow. So even if you want to clear out a few areas in your yard that are dandelion-free, you can still dedicate some spaces to allowing the dandelions to grow freely.

In an effort to save the bees who are diminishing, we may want to look at dandelions a bit differently, and we may want to reconsider having all grass lawns. Even letting some dandelions grow between mowings a bit and allowing for some more time between mowings, you could do your part in an effort to save the honey bees. So it's a win-win, you get to take some time off of yard chores to do something more fun, and the honey bees and other bees get their food. We also get to enjoy the honey that comes from honey bees as well which is something to keep in mind as you are doing your part to save the bees. You can also plant other plants and flowers that will help save the honey bees and other bees. When you're planting for the bees, think of plants with blue and purple flowers. They tend to be attracted to these flowers more. So lavender is a plant that bees really love. They also enjoy berry plants like raspberries, blueberries and blackberries which also give us food through their work in pollinating them. So if you want to save the bees, leave your dandelions alone for the bees sake.***

Learn MORE at Facebook - York County Beekeepers Association in Pennsylvania

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