That year was very dry and we suddenly had piles (hundreds) of dead bees in front of the hives every morning – not all hives, but maybe 20% of them. Many estates in the west highlands of Scotland are overrun with Rhododendron ponticum. People have been known to become ill from eating honey made by bees feeding on rhododendron and azalea flowers. This makes sense – rhododendrons bloom in the spring when honey bees may be distracted by other flowers. These types of toxins are usually produced by plants to reduce foliar grazing. In short it would probably be just fine, but for future reference the Indian Horse-chestnut ( Aesculus indica ) would be far better for the local bees as it flowers in the June gap and the nectar is not reported to be toxic to bees. very interesting; by the way I like the idea of “randy rhododendron fans”!! By Rasbak – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=800114. Rhododendron honey is said to be toxic only if very recently produced by the bees, so commercially produced honey is unlikely to produce any effects. Thanks, Emily. - 3 ft. 0 in. Forest rose, rhododendron hail, which is a genus of rhododendron blooms in May and June, Turkish Mad honey or Deli Bal in Turkish produced by bees benefiting from the flowers is a poisonous plant, requires heavy rainfall and high rate of moisture. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. Not all rhododendron honey is toxic, as not all rhododendrons contain toxic compounds. Not all plants are safe for all pollinators. That makes sense – it’s in the best interests of the plants to attract pollinators. Our hives sit on the ground with a strip of coreflex about 25 cm wide in front that keeps the grass from the entrance but also works as a perfect examining platform. The Rhododendron referred to in the link you mention is a different species R. ponticum, an invasive species Europe and Turkey, and contains a naturally occurring chemical called grayanotoxins. I’ve asked lots of beekeepers and have been told vaguely that there are plants that kill bees but no one has any specifics (nor can I find them anywhere). I know things will soon get very busy so am trying to write all the posts I can now before life goes crazy! In the foyer of the school where the event takes place there are people who have products and plants to sell specifically of interest to beekeepers. Common rhododendron is regarded as an unwelcome alien invader and being eradicated from Nature Reserves here in North Wales, so not a good hunting ground for ‘mad honey’ here! It may be a mechanism to select specialists that are more effective at pollinating the plant.”. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. He said: “In the book “Plants and Beekeeping” by F.N.Howes. Botanists from Trinity College Dublin's School of Natural Sciences have discovered that the nectar from a common, non-native plant, is toxic to some Irish bees. Will let you know if I get any more replies . And ultimately, we may also have a good, delicious, healthy and non-toxic honey. Bumblebees seem to be immune to the toxins. When bees make honey in these fields, no other nectars get … Are there reader of your site who have practical experience of this tree, would honey bees avoid it if there was plenty of other forage available or is the risk too great? Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Dead bumbles have been found under lime trees before and one theory is that they have died of exhaustion after being able to find alternative flowers when the lime nectar ran out. Rhododendron Family: Ericaceae Life Cycle: Woody Country Or Region Of Origin: USA, NC, Asia Distribution: Throughout Wildlife Value: Flowers attract humingbirds. locoweed [Astralagus lentiginosus], Veratrum californicum, Vernonia spp. €10,00 per tree. The article was from the UK, so I wanted to double check...are they really toxic to our MN bees? Throughout the morning, the more energetic and house-proud bees actually drag the corpses away from the entrance so, without really studying the colonies at the right time, you’d never see the dead bees. In Turkey, not only do the poisonous rhododendrons abound, but the humid, mountainous slopes around the Black Sea provide the perfect habitat for these flowers to grow in monocrop-like swaths. Spectacular and beautiful, not many people know the common rhododendron hides a poisonous secret – its nectar is toxic to bees. A bee-friendly garden is a great way to support the population of these pollinators, which is dangerously declining.Did you know that not all flowers are good for bees though? Forest rose, rhododendron hail, which is a genus of rhododendron blooms in May and June, Turkish Mad honey or Deli Bal in Turkish produced by bees benefiting from the flowers is a poisonous plant, requires heavy rainfall and high rate of moisture. You can feel confident your PJM is not poisoning bees. It may come as a surprise that many plant materials are poisonous or toxic to honey bees.. The grayanotoxin is the plant’s defence against herbivore attack. A landscape scale chemical analysis comparing R.ponticum plants in Ireland with R.ponticum plants in the species’ native range of Spain and Portugal found that toxin levels were lower overall within the Irish plants. A very new area of research, I think! Mad honey is made by bees that feed on rhododendron flowers, which give it its psychoactive effects. Given the emphasis on bees, sure do not want to add to the problem with my bushes. Now & then one encounters the folklorishly exaggerated "warning" that rhododendron flowers are so poisonous that bees manufacture toxic honey from them. It contains an andromedotoxin. Do the dead bees in front of your hives look different from normal bees in any way? while they scarfed up Rhododendron Honey and Amanita Stew." Its poisonous nature must act as a further discouragement. This is especially true in the Americas, where Apis mellifera is not native. This morning, Pastor Paul illustrated his sermon by likening sin to Rhododendron ponticum, in that it is invasive, pervasive, destructive and difficult to contain and control. I am now convinced that it is killing them and much as it pains me to, I am going to eraditcate it as I feel that, sadlt, bees need all the help they can get these days ! Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. I have heard that honey made from poison oak is delicious. What a shame that it didn’t get funded, would have loved to see your photos of British bees. There are actually flowers harmful to bees. The common rhododendron, Rhododendron ponticum, certainly does produce toxic nectar. The bumblebees tolerate the toxin and pollinate the flowers. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. It … If you go out at dawn, the affected hive looks normal – no dead bees. Plants are commercially propagated from plant cuttings. From U S Food & Drug Administration Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition Food borne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins 1992 (Bad Bug Book) The researchers suggest that within their invasive range (as studied in Ireland) the plants “reduce or stop entirely the production of nectar toxins to ensure sufficient pollination success (Egan et al., 2016)“. Stories tell of soldiers finding rhododendron honey left by fleeing citizens. Are highly oxygentated diterpenoids that have been known to become ill from eating honey made by bees are. So to speak so they consumer it in the best interests of the genus rhododendron the... Have time because I ’ m now convinced the bees and humans it mentions….. ‘ poisoning. General rhododendrons are toxic to many different animals, certainly does produce toxic.. Read an article stating the rhododendrons are not the only toxic honey from it quickly loses any toxicity different (. 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