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dansar

Tutin honey Kills Honey Bees

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At the Kumeu meeting on the 19th August Analytica has a session on testing honey and a small part was about Tutin in honey. An example was given of a drum with a level of.50 = really toxic. Someone asked if it could be fed back to the bees. Apart from the answer of not feeding extracted honey back to any and all of your hives, @Mark Goodwin (nice to meet you Mark) said to all in attendance that Tutin honey is actually toxic to the bees.

You learn something new every day. So in a drought situation and the presence of Tutin and lace wing the risk of losing hive population to toxic honey is very real.

 

Who knew?

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I suspected it was.

Ive seen natural poisoning a few times now I think and never really been able to pinpoint what was causing it, and had nowhere to point a finger other than at some dodgy nectar they had collected.

 

Does anyone know what other honeys are toxic to bee, I'll take some pics next time I see some and post them up with pics of the forage around too.

 

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12 hours ago, dansar said:

You learn something new every day. So in a drought situation and the presence of Tutin and lace wing the risk of losing hive population to toxic honey is very real.

 

@dansar

Passion vine hopper, not Lacewing. Two quite different insects.:)

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32 minutes ago, Daley said:

Does anyone know what other honeys are toxic to bee, I'll take some pics next time I see some and post them up with pics of the forage around too.

I understand that rhododendrons and azalea nectar is toxic to them. 

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7 minutes ago, Happyjack said:

I understand that rhododendrons and azalea nectar is toxic to them. 

That makes sense too.

I wonder what other natives there are that are toxic

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The bees in my back yard, in North Shore suburbs, have for several years showed symptoms of poisoning at certain times of the year, with bees spinning around on grass outside the hive.

 

I had thought it was spray damage or maybe a malicious person who hates bees, until one day I noticed that all the affected bees had a particular type pollen on their legs, and no other bees were affected. No idea what plant it is, but seems likely it is some specific plant.

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They can get disorientated on kowhai from what I've heard, just like on rhododendrons. Ive seen bees stall on Karaka, just not get any bigger/stronger. I've heard that it can knock hives over.

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25 minutes ago, Alastair said:

The bees in my back yard, in North Shore suburbs, have for several years showed symptoms of poisoning at certain times of the year, with bees spinning around on grass outside the hive.

 

I had thought it was spray damage or maybe a malicious person who hates bees, until one day I noticed that all the affected bees had a particular type pollen on their legs, and no other bees were affected. No idea what plant it is, but seems likely it is some specific plant.

Yep I've seen the same thing just last week and I have no idea what's causing it that is flowering now 

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http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00288233.1972.10421295

Quote

Toxicity tests showed that the nectar of the yellow kowhai (Sophora microphylla Ait.) frequently has a narcotic effect on honey bees. Only adult bees are affected. Mortality of narcotised bees may occur, especially if they are exposed to the low temperatures common in the spring. 

 

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6 hours ago, Otto said:

@dansar

Passion vine hopper, not Lacewing. Two quite different insects.:)

Absolutely @Otto Lacewing a good bugs in the garden.

Edited by dansar

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Karaka nectar is highly toxic to bees although probably more narcotic than actually poisonous they just sit round in the grass outside the hives in clumps of 20 to about 100 bees and are too stupid to come in out of the rain. It is the only poisoning of scene that affects bees this way and can be very severe. They won't get it if they are getting another nectar source as well and feeding sugar helps. I have definitely heard of kowhai toxicity but it doesn't happen very often and generally they do pretty well although they can get unusually aggressive. The honey has a distinct taste of brake fluid and you probably shouldn't eat too much. There are quite a few subspecies of this tree so maybe some are worse than others. As for tutu I have never seen any mortality from it and a level of 50 would still be below the level of any detectable harm in humans given there is 100 times safety margin and fair enough to. I hadn't heard of rhododendrons being poisonous to bees although some are deadly to tui and the honey is definitely toxic to people.

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Good info although I haven't tasted a lot of brake fluid so still none the wiser on that ;).

 

Yes I think some kowhai are worse than others. Because one time I visited someone whose kowhai was in flower, and had a lot of bumblebees on it. But under the tree were lots of bumblebees buzzing around on the ground and dieing, just like they had been fly sprayed. It looked so bad the people were actually embarrassed for having the tree. After that I thought wow those things must be super toxic, but since then I have seen other kowhai with bees happily working them and no apparent harm at all.

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Rhododendrons are in full flower right now around Gissy and up my way at Tiniroto but only seen bumble bees on them despite having a couple of hives less than 200m away

 

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Wasn't it Rhododendron honey that is suspected to have killed Alexander the Great? A little before my time and my memory isn't as good as it was....A particular species of Rhododendron, and I think it also depends where it grows. I'm sure I learned that on NZBees.net

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Google :" According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine report of 1998, Alexander probably died of typhoid fever (which, along with malaria, was common in ancient Babylon). "

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2 hours ago, Happyjack said:

Rhododendrons are in full flower right now around Gissy and up my way at Tiniroto but only seen bumble bees on them despite having a couple of hives less than 200m away

 

Maybe that's what it is, I know those country ladies love their rhodos haha

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3 hours ago, Happyjack said:

Rhododendrons are in full flower right now around Gissy and up my way at Tiniroto but only seen bumble bees on them despite having a couple of hives less than 200m away

 

Say hi to the Playle next time you see any of them from me

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3 hours ago, john berry said:

Karaka nectar is highly toxic to bees although probably more narcotic than actually poisonous they just sit round in the grass outside the hives in clumps of 20 to about 100 bees and are too stupid to come in out of the rain. It is the only poisoning of scene that affects bees this way and can be very severe. They won't get it if they are getting another nectar source as well and feeding sugar helps. I have definitely heard of kowhai toxicity but it doesn't happen very often and generally they do pretty well although they can get unusually aggressive. The honey has a distinct taste of brake fluid and you probably shouldn't eat too much. There are quite a few subspecies of this tree so maybe some are worse than others. As for tutu I have never seen any mortality from it and a level of 50 would still be below the level of any detectable harm in humans given there is 100 times safety margin and fair enough to. I hadn't heard of rhododendrons being poisonous to bees although some are deadly to tui and the honey is definitely toxic to people.

From what I've read the honey from both Karaka and Rhodies get less toxic the older the honey is (months till not toxic?) I worked with a zimbabwean that said that the never ate fresh honey just after the rhododendrons had flowered

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As far as I can find out no one has done any research for years on karaka poisoning but research from way back when does suggest that it loses potency over time. There is no doubt that karaka fruit are poisonous to humans but there seems to be no data on how toxic the honey is. Fortunately it comes in well before the main honey flow and I don't suppose any research will be done unless someone does get poisoned.

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37 minutes ago, Charles said:

Say hi to the Playle next time you see any of them from me

Will do. Caught up with Steven Playle at the Tiniroto tavern a couple of weeks ago... might prove difficult in the future as the pub closed last weekend  :(

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Always gutting to lose another country pub

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I don't remember where I read it, but I read that there are a large number of Karaka varieties and that only a few are a problem, though of course when there is a problem it can be a big one.

 

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3 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

I don't remember where I read it, but I read that there are a large number of Karaka varieties and that only a few are a problem, though of course when there is a problem it can be a big one.

 

I'm sure there's only one Karaka, are you sure you're not thinking of Kowhai ?

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11 hours ago, yesbut said:

I'm sure there's only one Karaka, are you sure you're not thinking of Kowhai ?

I did a quick google search and could not find this again, so I think you are right it was something else, probably Rhodo's.

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