Interesting chatter on our beekeepers' whatsapp group about Himalyan Balsam:
[22:04, 9/9/2018] For information, some people are saying bees are coming back to the Hive covered in "white stuff" this is Himalayan Balsom. Mostly collected on River banks. (Know as Ghost Bees.
[22:10, 9/9/2018] : ........why is it on the back of their thorax???
[22:12, 9/9/2018] Because when the go into the plant they get covered and are unable to "clean it" off themselves, it's believed that nursery bees remove it when returning to the Hive.
[22:16, 9/9/2018] Moreover, the flower’s stamen hangs above the lower petals so when the bee lands on these petals the stamen moves downwards and ‘stamps’ the back of the bee.
Himalayam Balsam is also an invasive species.
[22:21, 9/9/2018] Yes, I agree, Himalayan balsam is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to England and Wales. As such, it is an offence to plant or otherwise allow this species to grow in the wild. I leave the National Trust to attempt to remove it as I feel I am not qualified and would not want to make it a bigger issue.
[22:24, 9/9/2018] Makes good honey too!👍🏻
[22:26, 9/9/2018] I agree, I get a good supply for Winter food, and i always leave them a super mixed with Ivy & Balsom. Bees love it.