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Suffolk Wildlife Trust urges us to look after our bees

Can you believe it’s March already? As the weather starts to warm up and a whiff of spring fills the air, look out for any large bumblebees that might venture out on a sunny day. These big fluffy, bumbling insects are new queens emerging from a winter’s hibernation. They have spent all winter tucked away in a log pile or in leaf litter awaiting sunny spring days.

This time of year, they would have spent up most of their fat reserves that got them through winter, and they are not out of the woods yet, March is notorious for snowy weather. They will need to find some more pollen and nectar to top up those much-needed fat reserves and the best place to find this is dandelions. Yes, dandelions are full of pollen and nectar, yet in more recent times this plant has been considered as one of the worst weeds there is.

In the Victorian era, dandelions were an agricultural crop – yes, we actually farmed dandelions. They are rich in iron and potassium and contain more vitamin A than spinach and more vitamin C than tomatoes. They were used in a once popular drink dandelion and burdock.

Bee on a dandelion flower (55343802)
Bee on a dandelion flower (55343802)

Gardeners usually look upon dandelions as lawn killers now, but it is actually the complete opposite. Their tough tap roots break through hard ground helping to aerate the soil. The roots reach deep and go far down to bring up nutrients to the surface for other plants to enjoy. And most importantly of all, they are rich in pollen and nectar for our struggling insects to feed upon.

Now more than ever, insects need our help – 41 per cent of insects are in decline to the point of extinction if we carry on going the way we are, yet insects are responsible for more than 75 per cent of the food we eat. Imagine how the cost of food could rise if we had to start to pay people to pollinate plants by hand, which is the case in some parts of the world already.

So do your part today and don’t pull up the ‘weeds’, let them grow to feed our struggling insects and fluffy bumblebees, it’s the least we can do. #actionforinsects.

Hawk Honey

SWT Visitor Experience Officer

Lackford Lakes

Lackford Lakes is a 105.8 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The SSSI is part of the 131 hectare Lackford Lakes nature reserve, which is managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/lackfordlakes