Bush honeysuckle isn't native to Missouri, but the species is flourishing in the state. The infestation has impacted the diversity and abundance of native plants, eliminated essential habitats for the insects that rely upon native plants, and has provided poor nutrition for birds, among other issues. The honeysuckle also escalates human exposure to Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, a tickborne bacterial infection, by increasing the activity of the tick host, whitetailed deer.
In an effort to upset honeysuckle infestation, the Missouri Botanical Garden has organized public events and volunteer removal days to raise public awareness about the need for bush honeysuckle removal and the benefits of replacing it with native plants.
On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with the garden’s restoration outreach coordinator, Ali Brown, who is heading up the organization’s Honeysuckle Sweep Month.