Might Bees Go Hungry Without Invasive Species?

Spotted knapweed is an invasive species now ubiquitous in the United States.  Thanks to my colleague Costa Georgopoulos for bringing a recent article to my attention.  A counteroffensive against knapweed is being launched to try to control or eradicate this flowering weed.  Some Michigan beekeepers feel that without knapweed, their bees will suffer for want of forage, particularly in late summer.  They are understandably concerned for their own livelihoods, but also for their ability to maintain a robust bee population in Michigan.  Please chime in on this issue.  What should be the benchmark for a healthy bee population?  If bees are snacking on Maraschino-cherry-sugar-water in Brooklyn and invasive knapweed in Michigan and Utah, then how can we talk intelligently about sustainable agriculture and all-natural honey?  Do Michigan beekeepers market “Clover Honey?”  If so, how much of their clover nectar really comes from knapweed?

The first two pages of the Knapweed article are available in pdf format here.  The above photos came form this website with additional information about invasive plants.

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