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Rhododendron and bees

CamelliadCamelliad Posts: 402
I have a rhododendron Christmas Cheer. As beautiful as it is in flower at the moment I've come to learn that it's also poisonous to bees. For the past couple of days I've seen a bee flying in and out of its flowers. Other than dig it up and throw it away (which it may yet come to) what can I do to deter the bees from trying? Netting? I have lots of anemones growing next to it - fully open. Those are a viable source of pollen yes?


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,908
    Don’t panic.

    Nature is a wonderful and mysterious thing.

    There is such a thing as “mad honey”, which I believe is quite expensive. The chemical that causes honey to drive people round the bend also affects bees.

    Here is an extract from Wikipedia about the phenomenon.

    Sorry it’s in two parts, I couldn’t fit it into one screen shot.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,369
    I'm just reading The Garden Jungle by bee expert Dave Goulson and he mentions the grayanotoxins in rhododendron nectar as being toxic to some bee species. On doing some further reading though it's not quite so simple.

    "In contrast to humans, grayanotoxin poisoning can be lethal for other animals. Nectar containing grayanotoxin can kill honeybees, though some seem to have resistance to it and can produce honey from the nectar. According to a team of researchers from the UK and Ireland, worker bumblebees are not harmed and may be preferable as pollinators because they transfer more pollen. Consequently, it may be advantageous for plants to produce grayanotoxin in order to be pollinated by bumblebees"

    Keep reading to see the effects it has on the honey made by the bees though. 
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,908
    snap. 😁
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,908
    And also,  besides doing in priapic old Turks, it has played a very interesting role in history.

    The very fact that mad honey exists shows that it can’t kill every bee.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • CamelliadCamelliad Posts: 402
    Oh my goodness this is so interesting. I'm so glad I've asked you all. Thank you. There's never a straightforward answer is there. I need to sit down quietly somewhere with a cup of tea and read this properly.
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