The sight of a dandelion evokes one of two feelings, one of love and one of loathing.
I can understand that the bright yellow buttons on a beautiful green grass can give the impression of an uncared yard or parks in our communities. However, these cheery yellow blooms are a valuable treasure in our environment.
The dandelion is one of the first few blooms in the spring. These little blooms are essential to the health of many bee populations, that depend on the pollen for a food source, and a source of nectar to start the process of honey. The dandelion honey is usually an early honey that is made in Alberta, and can be a bit darker in color, and have a ‘sharper’ or bolder taste, which appeal to some people. This honey can be stored by the bees for feed to help stave of starvation due to bad weather or the delay of floral crops.
The common conception to spray these weeds immediately to prevent the spread or invasion of these weeds has existed for many years. Unfortunately, the sprays, the extreme cutting of ditches and parks has taken away many of local wildflowers and taken away an early source of food for the bees. The dandelion has been a consistent food source in spring for many populations of bees, and we desperately need this bloom to continue to exist to provide a much needed source of food until many of our flowering crops can be seeded and bloom.
The thought to be patient with dandelions is more important than ever to be achieved today. With the lack of floral diversity in our environment, we should give these little blooms a fighting chance to grow so the bees have time to feed and grow their populations stronger.
Think twice before instantly reaching for the weed spray, instead wait until the bright yellow bloom fades into existence and no longer looks enticing to the bees.