The Simple answer is Azaleas are bad for bees. This is because they produce toxic nectar that is bad for the bees. Moreover, the majority of the time, these flowers bloom when bees are inactive.
However, according to kew.org, the toxins in their nectar at natural levels do not harm the bees. Before getting into further details, let us understand some basics about Azaleas.
What Are Azaleas?
- Azaleas are from the Rhododendron genus.
- They are a group of flowering plants and are very popular plant species around the world.
- However, they are negatively known for their toxicity
- The prime toxin in this plant is andromedotoxin. It is a diterpene poison that causes issues with the sodium channels in an organism’s nerves.
- It can cause hallucinations and in worse cases, if the dose is larger, then it can paralyse and kill you.
- In the past, honey from these flowers was used as a weapon.
Are Azaleas Bad For Bees?
Yes, some Azaleas are bad for bees. This is because some of its species contain high toxins that can harm bees. On the other hand, there are a few species with toxins that are not bad for bees.
Moreover, large bees like bumble bees are more attracted to bee trees and they may have a high tolerance towards plants containing toxins. Talking about normal bees, are not immune to toxin-rich plants. Therefore, they can get harmed because of plants like Azaleas.
Do Bees like Azaleas?
Bees do like Azaleas. However, their toxins’ chemical structure can be toxic for bees. On the other hand, if this plant is able to make honey from the toxins, it seems that maybe it isn’t toxic to bees. There are a few species of Azaleas that attract bees much more than others.
Are Azaleas good for beekeeping?
Azaleas are not good for beekeeping for various reasons. Here are a few of them –
- Bees are very attracted to Azaleas. However, azaleas are toxic in nature and they make poor quality honey.
- Azaleas do not attract bees as they bloom earlier when bees aren’t yet going for pollination.
- They are the bumble bee flowers, not honey bee flowers.
Which Types of Azaleas Are Poisonous?
Basically, there are around 1000 species of azaleas in the world. The smaller ones are known as azaleas and the larger ones are known as rhododendrons. All parts of azaleas are poisonous to bees. They have toxins known as grayanotoxins. Ingesting it can be harmful to animals as well as humans.
You can find these beautiful flowers that can grow everywhere. However, extreme weather conditions can affect their growth. With a wide range, various characteristics can be seen in various places.
Is Poisonous Nectar a Big Concern?
Yes, it is. Pollen from specific plants is poisonous to bees. However, nectar is a bigger culprit. When it turns into honey, it can be toxic to them or even to humans in a few cases.
However, this is not a big concern. It is rare for bees to collect too much poisonous nectar to kill themselves. When plants are blooming, other nectars are a bit more attractive. Therefore, there is less chance of the bees zoning in on the bad plants.
Also, a few flowers are dangerous only in certain climatic conditions like drought. Hence, this is very rare. Still, it is best to identify the plants that can make toxic nectar.
List of Plants Poisonous to Bees
There are a few flowering plants that can be poisonous to bees in certain conditions. When the weather is ok, these plants are perfectly fine for the bees. Moreover, beekeepers should allow the bees to go on these plants to collect nectar.
Additionally, it is best to be aware of and monitor the bees’ activity during extreme weather conditions. This way you can take care of the bees and keep them away from dangerous plants. These plants include –
- Yellow Jessamine
- Carolina Jessamine
- Summer Titi
- American Basswood
- California Buckeye
- Mountain Laurel
Are Azaleas good for honey production?
Many individuals do not know that this plant is very bad for honey production. This is because its nectar is very toxic to honey bees. The bees that collect its nectar can become dizzy or even die in some cases.
How to Avoid Azalea Toxins In Honey?
Honey that has andromedotoxin is called mad honey. There are some methods that beekeepers can keep the honey free from andromedotoxin.
- Usually, the timing of bees searching out flowers and the azalea flowering seasons are different from every other.
- Beekeepers can take care to plant these plants that aren’t toxic and do not increase the toxin. These are normally the ‘Encore Azalea’.
- Ensure that there is greater pollinator-friendly flora withinside the nearby region of the bees.
- Don’t gather honey from hives close to poisonous azalea plants all through the azalea planting season.
- Dilute honey was gathered from numerous sites. This may be an additional precaution to avoid any risks.
In conclusion, I would say that, while Azaleas make lovely plants, and are very sustainable, they’re commonly not good for bees.
This is due to the fact they could be poisonous to bees and additionally aren’t preferred nectar supply for bees.
There can be some species that might be pollinators friendly, still, Azaleas aren’t commonly considered honeybee plants.
I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more interesting and informative pieces of writing. till then, stay connected.
Frequently asked questions
Serious poisoning is not likely when small portions of azalea are swallowed. However, swallowing big quantities of any part of the plant or honey made from those flowering plants can cause fatal symptoms.
Cardinal Flower – a local perennial for lavatory or rain gardens with natural scarlet flora.
Chrysanthemums – maximum mums are double-flowered with no nectar or pollen, consequently no appeal to bees.
Flowering azaleas feature like any other plants in their interaction and make use of bees. Azaleas can be positioned on dirt, grass blocks, coarse dirt, podzol, rooted dirt, farmland, moss blocks, or clay. Unlike maximum obvious blocks, mobs can spawn on the pinnacle of azaleas.
Here is the list of bee-friendly flowers-
Both are from the Rhododendron family. This is a genus of flora with common characteristics, while azaleas are a sub-group inside this genus, instead of being a genus of their own.
Azaleas live for a very long. However, nothing lasts forever. There isn’t much you could do for your azaleas. Like all residing things, flora gets old and dies. 35 years is a ripe old age for azaleas.
Water the azalea up to two times a week. It loves to drink, however, if the soil gets waterlogged – even for simply an hour and a half, the roots will die. Also, do not water azaleas from height.
Yes, they do attack caterpillars and Lace bugs. Lace bugs eat leaves present underneath and consume chlorophyll that causes white splotches. If you bump some leaves in a piece of white paper or your hand you will see small black insects.