Saturday, March 29, 2014

If you really want to help honey bees...

I have been seeing bees for over a month now. They have been gathering pollen from the early blooming trees: maple, elm, poplar, and willow. Pollen provides protein for growing bee larva, but does not provide energy for flying bees. Early in the season, that still comes from the sugar stored as honey.

Some of the early bulbs give a little nectar and I am sure the bees manage to find a bit here and there in the wild. The most important time for nectar is when the dandelions start blooming. Dandelions are rich in pollen, but they are also rich in early nectar. This early nectar helps honey bees fuel long flights while searching for later nectar flows, as well as fuel the growth of spring bee populations.

Dandelions are also markers for when the fruit trees and other early bloomers start producing. But you should never forget that dandelions are a major source of bee energy all by themselves.

If you care about bees, stop killing dandelions!


  1. My only worry is about stigma from the neighbors. I've never been a fan of fenced yards, but increasingly I want one to hide some of the "non-kosher" aspects of permaculture from prying eyes. (purposely planting clover? Comfrey? Other "weeds")

  2. Jeff, that is a really big concern. I have to be careful what I put in as a professional, but I always encourage people to put in clover and other sensible weeds.

    A little education goes a long way.

  3. They make you kill dandelions in SLC code enforcement will get after you. I personally like the greens in salad also the leaves have healing powers.
    So I try to overland other things need will like.

  4. Over plant things the bees need, like and don't use weed kill.