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Orleanders and bees


I have 30 odd oleanders on my property that are used as a wind break for my 60 odd fruit trees. I believe because if this i can’t have a bee hive. Just wanting to confirm with people more experienced than I if this is true and the honey would be poisoned. Cutting them down is not an option.


I went online & probably read the same things that you read. If I wanted to keep bees on the property, I’d rip the Oleanders out & replant with something more bee friendly.

I see you are in Esk. What about replacing them with some Golden Pendas? They are very bee friendly (including natives) & give a beautiful display when they flower.


I know you have to be careful in the cutting down process due to their toxicity.


Yeah well, that being the case, for me the quicker I got the job done, the better.

When I found out that my large snowbush shrub was toxic, I reefed it out. The bees or no other insects went near it anyway. That could be the same with oleanders. Maybe the bees will normally leave it alone.


Hi Jeff- funny thing is I walked past an Oleander this morning - I noticed it was in flower (beautiful white ones) but on the other side of the road so I didn’t see if any bees were on it. My neighbour cut one down years ago in his land and I helped him. He started sneezing and couldn’t stop - cursing the Oleander. I looked it up at the time and remember being surprised at the issue of the poisons in them - something about the possibility of causing a heart attack from memory.


I don’t think there is a market for heart attack honey :wink:


Now I understand why Kym said that cutting them down is not an option.

I guess when our bees forage in neighbors yards, generally speaking, they’re likely to encounter all sorts of nasties.


There is an oleander directly behind two of the hives here, it acts as a wind break.

White flowers and I rarely see the bees working the flowers.
We used to have a pet sheep, Lucy, and I remember she ate an oleander flower and we went into panic mode, called the vet and he said it was all good as sheep aren’t affected by the flowers, he was right.
I’m sure that there are lots of poisonous plant flowers that bees forage from with little negative effects to either the bees or the honey consumers.
Yes I know there are trees out there that are harmful to bees however I’m not convinced oleander is one.
By the way that’s my 12, now 13 year old son harvesting in his beekeeping gear… Gotta love the Flow.


Thanks everyone for you information much appreciated. Cutting them down for me is not an option as i have been here 10 years and i would be guessing they would be 20 odd years old. Being where i live and it is drought more than rain to get another to to that size would take me years , I trim them all the time and have never had any negative effects from that so that part of it doesn’t concern me.


Agree, we can’t control where the bees forage in the neighbours’ gardens.
When I heard the African tulip tree flowers are toxic for bees I went out to cut ours down that day.
There is so much to learn. Now I heard bloodwood honey has a high water content and can ferment in the comb already and turpentine honey tastes gross.
Do you know of more plants that can effect honey in a negative way?

I suppose it just becomes a problem if there is nothing else to forage on.


There was a list of the top 10 plants that are harmful to bees that I found on the net yesterday. Oleanders was #4.

The others are Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Trumpet flower or Angels trumpet, Yellow Jessamine, Mountain Laurel, Stargazer Lilly, Heliconia, Bog rosemary & Amaryllis.

I’m sure that there’s more. It’s risky business for a bee going out to forage.


Thank you JeffH :slight_smile:


I shall look into those for planting on other parts of the property. I love natives and have a lot already but had not heard of these ones.


That’s a helpful list Jeff. Many thanks for that. I think those angels trumpet grow here naturally, seen a few. Wonder if it’s toxic to bees or if the Honey has atropine in it.
This is sending me on a research journey.
A book or paper about plants that have an unwanted effect on bees and/or Honey would be really useful. One can get info on what to plant for bees everywhere, but not the other way around.


I’ve never seen bees on our Rhodos or Azalea - so I have not removed them. Apparently the bumblebee introduced here in Tasmania in about 1992 (very large) is spreading rhodos (weeds) here because they are better at pollinating them. The bumbles are always out earlier in the morning and finish up later at night too They are all over the State now actually. Like the Tasmanian Devil, they are genetically weak here. They only descend from two queens.