Some call it “The Spanish Needle,” which, I suppose, invokes thoughts of pain and the Spanish Inquisition at the same time. Other negative epithets include “beggarticks.” Finally, a slightly more enlightened public calls it “butterfly needles” which acknowledges the positive aspect, albeit skeptically:
-“Today there are butterflies here, but tomorrow there’ll be needles.”
This is an Asteraceae plant, which means that its “flower” is a bunch of yellow florets bundled together and surrounded by common petals, each producing its own nectar. This allows the bidens flower to be continuously attractive to the pollinators – florets time nectar production so that nectar is almost always in some supply.
The Wikipedia page on bidens calls them a “weed.” To me, the services it provides to insects and insect lovers are worth the slight inconvenience of its needle-like sticky seeds. I propose a simple solution: mow it after it goes to seed. Here are some photos of bees, flies, and Lepidoptera feasting on bidens taken around the Florida Museum of Natural History.
If you mowe bidens field in the fall, some of them will come back in a dwarf, close to the ground, form, and will continue to bloom, providing nectar for bees, wasps, and butterflies.