- Author: Betty Victor
I have viewed posts on Facebook about dandelions and bees which say not to get rid of the dandelion growing in your garden as they are food for the bees. But is that the truth or a myth?
I had not heard this before, so I decided to find out by going to some university websites to see what they had to say about this subject.
In my search, I found out that the dandelion belongs to the Asteraceae family which is one of the largest families with more than 1,620 genera and 27,600 plants, trees, and shrubs. Familiar plants from this family are aster, coneflower, cosmos, and many others.
One thing I did learn in doing research for this blog from the book California Bees and Blooms written by Gordon W. Frankie, Robbin W. Thorp, Rollin E. Coville, and Barbara Ertter is that bees belong to the Superfamily-Apoidea order of Hymenoptera and that there are approximately 20,000 bees across the globe. Here in the United States, there are about 4,000 insects-some as small as ants and some as large as birds. Not sure what kind of birds.
From what I have read dandelions are not the first food for bees. They only go for the pollen which is poor quality for them when that's all that is available for them. They will go for their preferred plant pollen first.
I have an orange tree in my yard, and when it is blossoming, bees of all shapes and variety, cover it taking what pollen they can carry. I also have other plants in my garden that attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, such as salvia, coneflower, and abutilon. I do not have many dandelions for the bees when there is no other pollen available for them.
As to my search I really did not come up with much saying not to get rid of the dandelions. Because in a pinch, even with the pollen's poor quality, it might help them.