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  • balsam control

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #4913  by Alfred
 29 Sep 2019, 16:42
Articles on R4's GQT last week-they've developed a biological "cure" for himayan balsam.
A "rust" (fungus) has passed initial trials and could soon be ready to be released to eradicate the plant.
I haven't got any,and would be thinking very very carefully before introducing it but it's still a shame to lose a feed source .
Also this week,the "rust" on horse chestnut has put it on the endangered list.
Suppose my car's the next victim.....
 #4914  by Chrisbarlow
 29 Sep 2019, 16:49
Balsam is awesome. :D

Spreading seeds it illegal :( don't introduce.

Biological control is very worrying because when they introduce things that are not already in our environment, it seems to end up being far worse than the original problem.

Cane toads spring to mind. I might just be paranoid.
 #4915  by Patrick
 29 Sep 2019, 17:08
If that is paranoia then I share it Chris. The history of wildlife biological controls is riddled with unintended consequences.

The shame is Himalayan balsam actually has a quite short seed viability (from memory about 3 years) and is easy to pull up. This means it typically if it can be pulled by hand before flowering and after three seasons the residual seed bank will be exhausted - job done.

The problem is people wait until they see the flowers before controlling - by which time some seeds may already have been dispersed. Also on river banks they start midway down a stream or river and it gets reintroduced by populations above - you need to start in the headwaters and systematically work down over time.

Personally I leave any local balsam crop for the bees, I am done by then!
 #4916  by Chrisbarlow
 29 Sep 2019, 17:18
I think the seed life is two to three years.

About 6 yrs ago, I had two boxes in a field next to a river in Summer, the damn river ended up having flash floods, the banks bursting. The colonies survived, the owner of the site said in twenty years that had never happened! The river banks were covered in balsam, I mean everywhere. Not after the flood though. More importantly though, the following year I went back. no balsam or virtually nothing, I'lI assume the flash floods had stripped a layer of soil plus all the balsam seed!
 #4917  by mikemadf
 30 Sep 2019, 11:10
We have balsam along farm ditches, in fields, along fences at 250meters above sea level.. everywhere..

It will take a long time yo get rid of it all.. It appears to coexist with brambles and nettles here..