Farmers using invasive species to their advantage instead of trying to stop the spread

From feral hogs to cane toads, pythons to iguanas, and we can’t forget those Brazilian pepper trees, Florida has its fair share of invasive species.

“Which affects the native ecosystem, so you don’t have the biodiversity that you need for more resilience,” says David Outerbridge, the county extension director for UF/IFAS Extension Lee County.

But for B. Keith Councell, the co-owner of Councell farms, those pepper trees aren’t all bad. In fact, they’re all the “buzz” at the beekeeper’s farm.

“It feeds our bees so they can make it through the winter until we have another bloom time,” he said.

In turn, honeybees can make honey.

“We don’t grow Brazilian pepper. We use what’s out here in the environment. Our bees fly up to five miles from our locations, so anything within that five-mile radius the bees will feed from and that’s what we’re using,” Councell said.

While there’s not an end in sight for the Brazilian pepper, Outerbridge says there’s not much we can do to stop the spread.

Councell takes a bitter situation and turns it into something sweet.

If you spot an invasive species, take a picture and report it by clicking here.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Briana Harvath
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