Efforts to kill invasive plant worry beekeepers

Associated Press
In this Dec. 11, 2010 photo, beekeeper Terry Klein, 70, of TM Klein and Sons Honey, checks one of the 1,000 hives of honey bees he keeps on his property in St. Charles, Mich. Klein is one of many Michigan beekeepers worried that efforts to combat an invasive plant that is crowding out native vegetation could leave them without a key source of nectar and pollen that helps keep their honeybees productive and healthy. (AP Photo/Steven L. Simpkins)
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In this Dec. 11, 2010 photo, beekeeper Terry Klein, 70, of TM Klein and Sons Honey, checks one of the …

An effort to kill an invasive plant by releasing bugs that eat it has drawn the ire of some beekeepers in Michigan.

They say the plant provides an important source of nectar and pollen to keep honeybees productive and healthy.

Researchers released insects in Michigan this year to see if their feasting would help control spotted knapweed. The plant produces chemicals that deter the growth of other plants and crowds out native vegetation.

Western states and big Midwest honey producers like Minnesota and Wisconsin have previously used bugs to kill knapweed. It's unclear why the method is drawing such opposition in Michigan and not elsewhere.

Michigan officials say they're looking at ways to use native flowers as a replacement for knapweed.

Michigan is among the nation's top 10 honey producers.

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