Bees need flowers and plants need bees for pollination. I found a list of other plants at http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/Plants-Toxic-for-Bees.html – scroll down to the blue ‘List Of Plants Toxic For Bees’ chart – perhaps you could check whether any of these grow near you. 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. With that - and the dillution that comes from the fact that ornamental bushes in people's gardens are a very small part of the bees' working area - you should be perfectly safe. The grayanotoxin is the plant’s defence against herbivore attack. 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? In buckeye poisoning it is the brood or young bees rather than the adult bees that are affected. Yet research led by Prof. Jane Stout, Professor in Botany and Dr Erin Jo Tiedeken, Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, has found that its flowers are visited almost exclusively by bumblebees, with occasional visits from solitary bees, flies, ants and wasps. Its poisonous nature must act as a further discouragement. Being sterile, it does not produce seed. I feel bad about throwing these, otherwise healthy, trees in the bin but all my friends are bee keepers too so they won’t appreciate such a ‘present’. But doesn’t say there are issues elsewhere in the world where it is planted. This usually occurs in dense populations of these plants, particularly in the Mediterranean region. 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. The toxins responsible for the poisonous effects of Rhododendron are grayanotoxins. Hi- I recently read an article stating the Rhododendrons are toxic to bees. And prolific! The first time it happened we suspected pesticide poisoning. 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. From U S Food & Drug Administration Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition Food borne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins 1992 (Bad Bug Book) I’ve never heard any reports of rhododendrons killing bumblebees though, only honey bees. Do the cannabis flowers also produce ‘mad honey’? People have been known to become ill from eating honey made by bees feeding on rhododendron and azalea flowers. He is gone now but lived much longer (13.5 years) than most of his breed. However, Irish research suggests the nectar may only have a negative effect on honey bees in countries where the rhododendron is an invasive species outside its native range – and even then, they’ll probably avoid visiting it anyway. Yes, and ‘heightening their Turkish delight’! Yet, all species produce a very-attractive-to-bees nectar. Even though it likes … Toxicity: As little as 3 ml nectar/kg body weight or 0.2% of the body weight as leaves may be toxic … Change ). It may come as a surprise that many plant materials are poisonous or toxic to honey bees.. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. Azaleas are very close relatives of rhododendrons and can cause the same type of toxicity. Azalea and Rhododendron: Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxins (grayanotoxins) are water-soluble diterpenoid compounds. Rhododendron Family: Ericaceae Life Cycle: Woody Country Or Region Of Origin: USA, NC, Asia Distribution: Throughout Wildlife Value: Flowers attract humingbirds. These apparently affect native and honeybees but not bumblebees. By Rasbak – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=800114. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. When bees create poisonous honey containing grayanotoxins, the nectar and pollen they collect, as well as the honey is not poisonous to them; only to humans. My beekeeping buddy Emma (Mrs Apis Mellifera) sent me a useful link from the Poison Garden website which suggests that most of us will be unable to tell what is R.ponticum and what is a hybrid – and therefore potentially less toxic – plant. The rhododendron family of plants includes more than 700 species, but only a handful contain grayanotoxins: Rhododendron ponticum and Rhododendron luteum.Both are common in the rugged areas around the Black Sea. Do the dead bees in front of your hives look different from normal bees in any way? Attracting bees, wild birds, insects and other pollinators to the garden seems to be a priority for gardeners these days, but it can be complicated. And ultimately, we may also have a good, delicious, healthy and non-toxic honey. Surprising things can be learned in church. Best to avoid: Rhododendron. However the jury is out about whether lime nectar actually poisons bumble bees, or whether bumbles continue feeding on lime nectar even when levels are low and so they run out of energy and collapse. Leaves and flower nectar (including honey made from plant nectar) are sources of the toxin. Ingested, they … What a shame that it didn’t get funded, would have loved to see your photos of British bees. I bought 3 Aesculus Californica young trees. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. Hi Mel, sorry to hear that. In contrast the nectar has no apparent effect on worker buff-tailed bumblebees. Spectacular and beautiful, not many people know the common rhododendron hides a poisonous secret – its nectar is toxic to bees. In fact, the majority of more recent reports of poisoning from rhododendron and azaleas occurred in Turkey where people ingested the poisonous honey produced accidentally by small … Chemicals in rhododendron leaves, flowers and nectar make the plant toxic. 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. R.ponticum was introduced to Ireland in the 18th century and has invaded large areas of the countryside, where it is regarded as a pest. The bumblebees tolerate the toxin and pollinate the flowers. It is probable that it needs a high light intensity ( like you would get in California) for it to yield copious nectar that may then contain concentrations of the toxin at a level that might cause an issue. 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. Nectar of some species of Rhododendrons has been shown to contain a toxic natural compound called grayanotoxin. A fascinating post Emily, interesting to learn that bees may self-medicate and that rhododendron is poisonous to honey bees. However, the bees know which is which, so you don’t need to worry about poisoning them. It is also common to relatives of rhododendron, such as other members of the azalea, or Ericacae, family. Also the research project’s press release at https://www.tcd.ie/news_events/articles/toxic-tastes-ireland-s-bees-and-non-native-rhododendron-nectar/6109#.VuyCm7QeNFJ has an interesting quote from the project’s chemist Professor Phil Stevenson: “What we don’t know is how bumblebees cope with this natural toxin and why some other bee species can’t or even why the plant apparently seeks to poison some potentially good pollinators. There are actually flowers harmful to bees. http://www.countryfile.com/countryside/top-ten-plants-are-bad-bees?fb_action_ids=10208750000685917&a... http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c163, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141211210006.htm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron Some species are poisonous to grazing animals. ( Log Out /  The effects rarely prove fatal to humans but probably would have halted or slowed down armies for a while. You can feel confident your PJM is not poisoning bees. 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