Want to Help Bees? Leave the Dandelions Alone This Spring
If you are one of those who are concerned about honeybee populations, help them by leaving the weeds to grow. Ecologists warn us to allow the dandelions to grow this upcoming spring.
Jane Memmott is the new president of the oldest ecological society in the world and at the beginning of her tenure, she reminded us how important is to live in harmony with nature. If we want to contribute to a better future of our environment, we need to keep our lawn pollinator-friendly.
Memmott admits that when she cuts the grass in her lawn she mows around the dandelions and buttercups, because “you can’t personally help tigers, whales, and elephants, but you really can do something for the insects, birds, and plants that are local to you.”
“Think about what you’ve had for breakfast. The pumpkin seeds in your muesli, apples, whatever made the marmalade on your toast, or even the coffee beans and tea leaves that make up your morning cuppa—all of these products rely on pollinators to survive and thrive.”
The origins of lawn carefulness were dismissed by the new leader of the British Ecological Society. She believes most Americans can agree with what she witnessed in England:
“This whole business of keeping your lawn clipped and pulling the weeds out is part of some British obsession with tidiness.”
Whatever plants you choose to grow in your balcony garden, front or back garden, lawn, or in a community allotment, will directly impact your local ecology.
Memmott advises a few rules if you decide to plant pollinators- do not plant too many pom pom-shaped flowers, as they put energy into petal production and won’t produce enough nectar and pollen. Any plant that has nectar and pollen parts that can be seen without pulling the petals is usable for pollinators.
“Dandelions are fantastic for early season pollinators. The UK has about 270 species of solitary bee and they love dandelions.”
She adds that if they weren’t commonly found everywhere, people would be fighting to collect and plant them.
But not only will bees benefit from our interaction with ecology in everyday life- so will we.
Scientists approve this idea, saying that if you act with kindness and contribute in nature, it will repay you many times over. Studies have shown that people, who regularly visit natural settings like town parks, beaches, or mountains, are more likely to have higher physical and psychological wellbeing. One case-control study made in the UK shows that, by gardening, peoples’ mood, self-esteem, and confidence were improved.
Another study on well-being form Wildlifetrusts.org explains how a person being present in various natural settings, whether it is a room with a few houseplants to a forest, can reduce anxiety and stress. It can also improve the well-being and mood, immunity, physical fitness, and can even reduce ADHD symptoms in children as well as symptoms of criminal activity.