Anyone who makes a living in landscaping or toils to keep a well maintained lawn, most likely hates the dreaded dandelion.  Beth Irons with Cornell Cooperative Extension says love it or hate it, the dandelion plays an important part in jump starting spring.

As kids we all blew the seeds off them to make a wish or constructed bracelets and necklaces by joining several stems together.  But the dandelion does more than entertain the kids.  It's one of the first flowers to pop up in spring, and Beth says there's where it's important function comes into play.  The purpose is to "save bees."

are the first food sources for bees after a cold winter season. If a hive survives the winter, beekeepers know the bees will be safe from starvation if they can stay alive until dandelions bloom

Unfortunately, most people don't appreciate the importance of bees either.  Beth adds that dandelions produce just enough nutrition and nectar to keep bees alive, which is why you rarely see Dandelion Honey.

She also suggests consider leaving some dandelions for the bees at the start of spring.  Read more about bees and their role in nature in the Fact Sheets at CCE's website.

SOURCE:  Cornell Cooperative Extension Beth Irons

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