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Azaleas & Mad Honey?

I want to start a hive, but my neighbor across the street has a big, beautiful Flame Azalea bush that blooms for 1-2 weeks every Spring.

I’ve been told that if bees pollinate an azalea, their honey will be toxic and since that bush is relatively close by, I’m concerned that my honey will not be edible.

Anyone with experience of keeping bees near azalea bushes?

One or two bushes with all the other stuff that will be blooming simultaneously probably won’t even register for the bees.

Certainly wouldn’t be toxic if you ate a normal amount even if there were a few more azaleas around.

If there are a large number of rhododendron and azaleas without anything else around then maybe you have something to worry about.

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I’m starting out with my first hive this year and just stumbled on this… I have three azaleas in my yard and there are probably quite a few more in my neighborhood. I had planned on digging up my azaleas since we don’t like them anyways but should I be worried about the greater are and Grayanotoxin?

I would encourage you to continue as you plan to dig your 3 azaleas out, however don’t be overly concerned about the others in your neighborhood. Your bees will cover a huge area while foraging for honey, & will most likely ignore the other azaleas in your area, unless they were the only plants in flower at the time. Your bees will gravitate to the best nectar source in the area, which can explain why folks don’t see many bees in their gardens at times.

In the video “City of Bees”, you’ll see how bees do a waggle dance to communicate a nectar source. After watching & comprehending that concept, it’s easy to figure out how some flowers get ignored by bees at different times.