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Photograph of bees on purple Himalayan Balsam plants

JBB Knotweed News

The Himalayan Balsam and the Bees

Have you noticed a lot of Himalayan balsam recently? At this time of year, have a close look at how active large stands are with bees!

The relationship between Himalayan balsam and bees

Here are three interesting facts about the relationship between a species that we are trying to protect and another we are trying to control:

1. Himalayan balsam is attractive to bees

Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is highly attractive to bees and other pollinators. The plant produces large quantities of nectar, which serves as a rich food source for bees. The showy pink or purple flowers of Himalayan balsam act as beacons, drawing in bees from the surrounding area to collect nectar and pollinate the flowers in the process.

2. Pollination mutualism between Himalayan balsam and bees

The relationship between bees and Himalayan balsam exemplifies a mutualistic interaction. The bees benefit from the abundant nectar provided by the balsam flowers, which they use to sustain their colonies and produce honey. In return, as the bees visit the flowers to collect nectar, they inadvertently transfer pollen from one flower to another, facilitating the pollination of Himalayan balsam and aiding in its reproduction.

3. Competition with Native Plant Species

While the relationship between bees and Himalayan balsam appears mutualistic, it can have negative consequences for native plant species. Himalayan balsam is an invasive plant, and its aggressive growth can outcompete native plants that also rely on pollinators like bees for reproduction. As the balsam spreads rapidly and dominates the local habitat, it may reduce the availability of native flowering plants, leading to a decline in their populations and disrupting ecological balances.

Himalayan balsam removal

It’s essential to strike a balance between supporting bee populations while also managing invasive species, to protect native plant species and maintain ecosystem diversity. Controlling the spread of Himalayan balsam can help to preserve the natural habitats and ensure a healthier environment for both bees and other native pollinators.If you think you may have Himalayan balsam on your property, contact JBB Knotweed Solutions to arrange a survey and plan your next steps,

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We can tell you if you definitely have Japanese Knotweed on your property and recommend the best course of action.