Save the Dandelions, Save the Bees
May 29th is Day of the Honeybee.
The celebration of Day of the Honeybee began in British Columbia to recognize the contribution of honey bees to the Canadian economy and to the health of the ecosystems that bees live in. It is meant to bring awareness to everyone of the importance of honey bees as pollinators. In Canada, the production of honey is valued at around $202 million (statistics from 2014). The annual economic contribution to Canadian agriculture from honey bee pollination is estimated to range between $3 - $5 billion (statistics from 2013).
What does this have to do with dandelions?
While we all might want to get rid of those yellow weeds that emerge after the spring thaw to create a beautifully plush green lawn, those nuisance flowers are actually a welcomed sight to honey bees. Often, they can be the first source of food after a long, harsh winter for the famished insects.
If you visit Science North this spring, you will see that dandelions abound on our lawns. We’ve chosen to let dandelions grow on our grounds to support local pollinators like bees.
However, if you cannot bear the sight of the pernicious weeds on your lawn, try to avoid using harsh chemicals to remove them. Most weed killing chemicals are also very toxic to our pollinating friends. It is important to remember that bees play an integral part in our ecosystem by pollinating both agricultural and non-agricultural crops that include propagation of food for other wildlife such as songbirds.
If you enjoy a multitude of fragrant flowers, the orchestra of songbirds and the sweet taste of honey, instead of complaining about our neighborhood dandelion issues, let’s smile about saving the bees.