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Bees out of sorts

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It looks exactly like bad karaka poisoning although you normally only see it in coastal areas where there is nothing else for the bees to work. I would have thought at your place there would have been

I am waiting for the pollen scientist to return from holiday but I have sent the samples from the deceased bees in for analysis so hopefully one day we will have more idea what was going on.


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1 hour ago, john berry said:

I don't think I've ever seen bees with karaka poisoning with pollen on their legs . If the pollen is all the same then one or two pellets should be enough. Would you like me to pop round tomorrow and have a look.

I'll put a few pellets in a snap lock bag and drop them to you. You're also welcome to call by if you're passing. 

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2 hours ago, BJC said:

Good morning Rob, did you manage to follow up on what was ailing your bees and identify the problem.

The symptoms resembled karaka poisoning. I don't know of any nearby and besides don't think they would be flowering. 


I understand some varieties of kowhai have a narcotic effect on bees. My kowhai trees were certainly flowering but no idea if they are the narcotic variety. Also with three large Kowhai in full bloom I would expect to see more hives affected. 


Ultimately I will never know what they got into. I expect the source was some distance way away such that only two colonies got onto it. 


They probably lost a few thousand bees but you wouldn't think so too look at them now. 

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  • 8 months later...

I have seen bees get very cranky and irrational on kowhai but I have never seen it do any harm. I do know other people that have had problems and I wonder if it is because there are quite a few varieties some of which may be more toxic. It definitely affects birds like tui some years more than others but round here anyway it is a far more benefit than not. It must be remembered that any spring source that attracts bees can lead to losses in inclement weather but those of the risks you take.

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