It depends on what variety of honeysuckle you are talking about. Around here, we have tons of the invasive Japanese honeysuckle. It has narrow white and pale yellow flowers and little black berries. I have never seen bees working it. There is some talk that the flowers might be too narrow for honeybees to access. http://www.beesource.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-197566.html.
Our native pollinators work the honeysuckle (both the shrub type and the vine type) like crazy, but honeybees don't seem to be too interested. The honeybees don't ignore it completely, but there is plenty of other forage available and they choose that forage over honeysuckle.
awebber96, i bought 18 acres (mostly woods) that has the Japanese honeysuckle and is climbing and killing trees. It's so thick in one area that there could be 50 deer in there and you would never see one. What do you do to control it?
There is no magic bullet. It's the first thing in the woods to green in the spring, which makes it easy to spot. Cut it, keep cutting it, and keep cutting it some more. I've had good luck spraying a little roundup on the stumps to keep it from regrowing.
If you have a lot of it, I've heard of folks renting one of those brush cutters that have a 12" buzz saw on the front. That would be a quick way, and strikes me as maybe a little fun. Good luck.
I don't know what species you all have, but in Vermont the bees work honeysuckle. We used to have a dearth of nectar after the dandelion/fruit bloom. Nothing blooming but mustard. Sometimes colonies would starve in the beginning of June, before the clover flow. Then honeysuckle moved in, and filled that dearth time with a flow. Some years the bees do quite well on the honeysuckle flow. I've been told the honey tastes like powdered sugar, but I don't get that taste.
Michael - That is not the Japanese honeysuckle and it not the native one that grows here (coral honeysuckle). But the leaf and flower appears to be very similar at a glance to the honey suckle family.
Brookes - You could get a small amount of basal herbicide and take a backpack sprayer into the woods early in the spring. Spray just the base of the plant where it is coming out the ground. Garlon 4 works well on the invasive exotic rose family. Just a light spray with a carrying oil and touch of diesel to help penetrate the bark and cambium layer with a wand tip. Overspray on tree trunks WILL cause problems. Follow the label.
We cleared more acreage than that with hand wand sprayers of multiflora/Cherokee/McCartney rose over a few years. Cleared extensive acreage with hand sprayers of Chinese tallow as well (yea, good nectar but that plant is terrible).
You can treat about 2 acres a day fairly easily. And this stuff will take out what you spray. Several other Garlon products out there as well as other chemicals. I don't support or work for Garlon, but have sprayed quite a bit of it over the years, but that type of "methyl ethyl death" works well.
Another thing that will hammer on it hard is goats (or cattle is a lesser manner). But you will need some machete work on the vines, just hack them off just above your head, don't have to be even clean cuts. But the climbing stems will die and the 4 hoofed weeding machines will hit the sprouting short stuff hard.
Do you know what type of honeysuckle that is shown in your picture? We have the honeysuckle vine, which our bees ignore. Which is unfortunate, because the vine is loaded with nectar. As a kid we would actually "drink" the nectar.
Glyphosate is effective with alternative application methods besides spraying. More here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag245
(in particular, see the "cut stump" section)
I keep a small bottle of (undiluted 41%) glyphosate with a suitable brush in a bucket with my other pruning tools. Brushing undiluted glyphosate on a freshly cut stem/stump works quite well to stop new sprouts. Yes, it takes extra time, but the alternative is to have to come back and deal with the problem again later.
Somewhere I have read that some crews removing invasive species from selected areas have special lopers that are fitted with "wipers" that the blade repeatedly contacts when cutting, to transfer herbicide to the cut stem as the cut is being made.
I had a Mo. conservation agent look at it and told me it was Japanese honeysuckle. I have a 15 gallon sprayer i use on my 4 wheeler and was told 2-4 D would kill Japanese honeysuckle, i wanted to ask on the forum if the bees would work it or not. I'm going to put 15 hives on this property (woods and wild flower country), didn't want to kill something that the bees worked.
I know the OP asked about the quality of honeysuckle as a nectar plant, but I'll share my experience of removing it from my property. So far, so good. But, it is a constant process due to reseeding by birds.
Two approaches work well for me. In the spring, roots are looser in the soil so it is somewhat easy to pull the living plant out of the soil by hand/shovel, or to use a chain and a tractor (even a lawn tractor can work) to yank the plants out. The rest of the year, cutting the plants down and applying glyphosphate in the form of Aquaneat (very concentrated glyphosphate) kills the stumps in one application, if the application takes place right after the cutting. The exposed cambium brings the herbicide right down to the roots just like it would if the glyphosphate were absorbed through the leaves. The dead material is easily removed the following spring.
Removing honeysuckle reminds me of that scene from Fantasia, where chopping the broom into little pieces just makes more little brooms. Thankfully, the smaller plants that might emerge the following year are very easily removed. Resprouting doesn't happen with the use of glyphosphate. New (or missed) plants are easily spotted in the spring and easy to remove by weeding.
The process of cutting and using aquaneat also works well with tree stumps, for what it's worth. Residential-strength Roundup just isn't strong enough to prevent resprouting of these.
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