Want to Help the Bees? Leave the Dandelions Alone This Spring

Dandelions are pollinators’ best friends: lay off the weed killer and the lawnmower, ecologist urges.

If you ever wanted to help dwindling honeybee populations, ecologists are encouraging that you “learn to love weeds” and leave the dandelions alone this coming spring.

At the start of her tenure as the new president of the oldest ecological society in the world, Jane Memmott reminded everyone last week that working to live in harmony with nature can be as simple as keeping your lawn pollinator-friendly.

The Bristol University professor admitted she mows around the dandelions and buttercups when she cuts her grass 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,” she began. 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.”

Aside from being extremely useful to humans, dandelions and other common lawn “weeds” are invaluable to bees and other pollinators.

You can help globally struggling pollinators tremendously simply by not spraying the weeds and by letting your grass grow a little longer between mowings, the British Ecological Society says.

If we like to eat the third of all food crops that are dependent on animal pollinators, we need to “learn to love weeds,” says the organization’s president Jane Memmott.

Memmott says she’s mows around dandelions in her yard, always making sure there are a few patches of flowers left for the bees and butterflies at any given time.

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