What seems like a good idea to provide forage sites for honeybees has gone nowhere in Washington state, but it seems logical, practical and worthwhile for that state as well as other states of the nation. The idea is to have state agencies involved with noxious weed control replace those weeds with plants that bees could forage when the noxious weeds are destroyed.
In Washington’s case, 27 plants are listed as noxious weeds that are to be controlled, but many or most of them are valuable bee forage, and when they are removed bees are left without pollen-rich plants to forage.
Washington’s state legislature has been asked to provide about $72,000 to run a pilot program of replacing noxious weeds with other bee friendly plants. The recent legislative report showed that the state House of Representatives passed the bill but it failed in the Senate.
Apparently some legislators feared a switch from one noxious weed with replacement of another plant that might eventually become just as troublesome, although beekeepers and noxious weed control officials claimed that wouldn’t be the case as only “native species” would be seeded.
This rejection comes following a study completed at the direction of the legislature to look at the bee population in the state of Washington where so many crops are dependent on bee pollination. Reportedly the study cited disappearing forage as a bigger reason for high bee mortality than pesticides in the environment.
From everything I’ve seen reported, a program such as this one that was supported by the Washington State Beekeepers Association makes sense for that state and many more. Also, such proposals might go a lot farther if national support could be received instead of relying solely on local beekeepers, as happened in Washington’s case, to try and establish all the details for replacing noxious weeds with bee-friendly native species of plants. This seems like a program that deserves to go national with support from the crop protection companies that are publicizing their involvement with bee care.