Unlike many people, including the ones portrayed in the multitude of annoying weed killer ads currently infesting my television set, I like dandelions. Their yellow flowers are a lovely burst of color in an otherwise monotonous and monoculture lawn. (I also make a wonderful jelly from them.)
But last night, I was reading an article in Rural Delivery that really brought home the importance of these lovely little flowers. They're one of the first to bloom in the spring, and they're full of nectar and pollen - which is precisely what honeybees, which have been living off food stores during the winter, so desperately need. Ditto carpenter bees, bumblebees, and all the other bee varieties that make up a healthy natural infrastructure.
The author wonders if the critical problem that farmers are seeing, of vast numbers of honeybees dying or disappearing, has any links to the fact that this early-season food is increasingly harder to find, along with the fact that bees are falling prey to pesticides. Maybe yes, maybe no, but is a golf-course-style lawn so important that we're not willing to see if leaving a few "weeds" alone makes a difference?
Bees are essential to our food supply, pollinating many of the fruits and vegetables we eat. If we don't have bees, we don't have food. Put down the weed killer and enjoy the flowers. Grass or groceries - which is more important to you?