To control or not to control: response of pollinator communities to invasive plant management

Science Center Objects

If invasive plants are producing pollen and nectar used by native pollinators, what happens when a manager decides to control the invasive plant?  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center is addressing this question and has found that pollinators are adept at changing their resource acquisition strategies as abundantly flowering invasive species decline.  In addition, it appears that the invasive species in some cases may be drawing in additional pollinators, which then visit native plants as the invasive senesces.  From the pollinators’ perspective, the key consideration is that alternative resources are available, and from the manager’s perspective, those resources should be the desired plant community. When considering pollination services, it is important to recognize the range of insects that provide those services; pollen transport networks developed from these studies have illustrated the importance of diverse taxa, including bees, beetles, flies and wasps, that are important pollen vectors.