Common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is an invasive plant which is spreading across Europe. Because of illness caused by its allergenic pollen and competition with crops, it's costing Europe an estimated €4.5 billion a year. The solution may lie with releasing non-native beetles. In this activity students evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using biological control to halt the invasion of this alien plant.


Learning objectives

  • Ecosystems: Suggest what might happen when an unfamiliar species is introduced into a food web
  • Examine consequences: Identify possible consequences to particular habitats and animals

    Blueprint curriculum link

    • Unit: Interdependence
    • Concept: Feeding relationships: Food webs link together several food chains and show how energy is transferred between organisms
    • Skills: Decisions: Consider the consequences of technology for people and the environment
    • Learning stage: Analyse

    Activity contents

    • Teachers guide
    • PowerPoint file

    The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.


    Independent news article

    Information from the BBC

    Because ragweed needs a warm climate it is not considered a major problem in the UK - yet. It has been predicted that due to climate change ragweed populations could soon spread in northern Europe.

    There are isolated populations in the UK but they are under control. However, the pollen can travel hundreds of kilometres so people are already suffering from the allergenic affects caused by ragweed growing on mainland Europe.

    Video introduction about Ragweed

    You may wish to play a short section (4:42-6:43) when showing slide 4. In French with English subtitles.

    Further information about Ragweed

    Including downloadable information in different languages.

    Background reading

    Article about biological control of ragweed for teachers.