I visited Ireland in April. Flowers weighed down tree limbs and bloomed in yards and sheep pastures, but I found no bees. Bees there, like here, are in deep trouble.

One day my family stopped at Sneem, a picturesque small town. We noticed a plaque on a building. Sneem had won an award for restoring bees. Now when we walked paths, we saw bees everywhere.

The plaque said Sneem had brought back their bees by 1) eschewing lawn and garden chemicals, 2) allowing dandelions and 3) planting a diversity of bee-friendly flowers.

Dandelions bloom only a short time. Not only are they an early food source, but something in them, found only in dandelions, is medicinal and helps bee thrive.

I set my mower blade high enough that I don’t cut down flowers. We can clip blooms with scissors once they start to go to seed. Or a person can set aside a section of lawn to allow dandelions.

We have half as many bees in the U.S. as we had 20 years ago. I spoke to a Denver beekeeper last Saturday who had watched all 14 of his hives die.

We have to change our mindset. We need bees to pollinate crops and spread beautiful flowers more than we need golf-course-like lawns. If we get on board as communities, neighbors won’t be annoyed by yellow-striped yards.

We could be like Sneem.

Patti Sherlock

Shelley

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