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Plants toxic to bees

I don't why it didn't occur to me before, but I've just found out that some plants (some of them quite popular) are toxic to bees. The Countryfile website has an article called "British bee guide: how to identify, where to spot, and how to attract bees to your garden" that lists some plants that are really good for bees, and some that really, really aren't.

Suffice to say, I will now definitely be binning the free azalea gift that came with my last plant order (I didn't want it anyway, so was debating whether to bother keeping it, and this is the death knell for it as far as I am concerned).

Thought I ought to post about it in case there are other novices like me who want to encourage bees to their garden but for whom this would never have crossed their mind. Flowers and bees seem such a positive combination, but clearly this is not always the case!
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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,144
    Yes, Rhododendron ponticum produces nectar that kills bees but not before they have flown home and deposited it in the honey cells of the hive. It is known to produce “mad honey” which affects those who eat it. It has even been used as a primitive form of chemical warfare in the past.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 4,218
    This is fascinating! I will check the list tomorrow 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,144
    I wouldn’t panic. Even between Rhododendron species their toxicity varies a lot. Your Azalea may be completely innocent.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • pansyface said:
    I wouldn’t panic. Even between Rhododendron species their toxicity varies a lot. Your Azalea may be completely innocent.
    @pansyface Well, that is reassuring then, because my neighbour has two azaleas in her front border. However, I'm not a fan of the look of azaleas anyway, so I think mine is still going in the bin! Also, thank you for the history snippet, I'd never heard of "mad honey" before.
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,500
    What is the advantage to a plant to kill pollinators? Very strange.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,091
    Some plants are pollinated by birds, bats, wind etc. In the azalea case, it seems to be butterflies that do the business.
  • @Bee witched Thank you for your comment, that really is reassuring to know, as I was a bit worried about my neighbour's plants, and the article I read didn't go into much detail on the matter. Luckily there is plenty of other choice for the bees to forage on nearby, so hopefully they will be fine and do well, as yours have done. As mentioned in a previous comment, azaleas aren't really my thing, so I am probably going to get rid of it anyway, but maybe I will give it away to someone who appreciates them, rather than putting it in the bin.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,144
    We have a driveway which is on a popular walking route. We often leave stuff out with a “free to a good home” sign on it. I am always amazed at what people will take. We also have a CCTV camera on the drive and it’s good fun to watch sometimes especially if there is a couple and one is keen and the other not.😊
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • @pansyface That does sound entertaining! And like a good way to give stuff away. I might give that a go (minus the CCTV, unfortunately). Thanks.
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