Dandelion Day at Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary
By Alex Tuchman
As the dandelions come into full bloom at the Honeybee Sanctuary, we give a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks. For the beekeeper, dandelions mark the end of scarcity—the page turning from worry, shortage, and diminishing colonies, towards new growth, health, and the guarantee that our bees have survived yet another Winter. Such is the value of this source of nectar and pollen for the bees. To see the fields spotted with those beautiful yellow flowers brings true joy to our hearts!
Rejoicing with our bees at this time, however, comes with the need for us to do our part to educate our neighbors about the importance of the dandelion for the honeybee, the butterflies, and the ruby-throated hummingbirds, who are migrating North at this time. The need for education is evident when we look at the shocking figure that today 80 million U.S. households dump over 90 million pounds of herbicides and pesticides on their lawns each year.
The result of this unnecessary use of chemicals is greatly contributing to the huge die-out of our pollinators, who rely on healthy flowers to survive. If the flowers are sprayed with pesticides, the bees will still pollinate them, as we saw with one of our honeybee colonies in 2016 near the town of Floyd, which was poisoned after visiting dandelions that were treated with herbicides by a neighbor. The dead and dying bees lying all around the hive was a terrible sight to witness, and it woke us up to need to bring the connection between the dandelion and the honeybees into the public eye.
To help raise awareness about this issue, we are offering the opportunity to join together as a community and learn more about the pollinators and the dandelions. On Friday, April 26th, we are hosting a special event, Dandelion Day, at Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary from 11am-6pm. Come on by the Sanctuary (401 Hideaway Lane, Floyd) for a tour, to visit our gift shop, to enjoy free dandelion-themed snacks and refreshments, and to learn more about what we all can do to help support the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. We will have a large array of special pollinator plants and seeds for sale. You can learn more about the event by visiting the events page of our website: www.spikenardfarm.org.