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Toxic and Beneficial Plants

Hi Guys, very new to beekeeping here - and just seeking some advice on any plant species that could potentially harm my future bees. Are there any plants/trees that are toxic to bees? I would also love any tips on plant species that I should be planting that will benefit my hive (increase honey yield/ natural deterrent of pests). Thanks

Hi Lauren,
I am not aware of any plant species that are toxic to bees, but there are some species that are not beneficial such as White Box, and some others that can produce toxicity in the honey such as Pattisons Curse and Rhododendrons though you would need a lot of them. The plants I use in my garden have some medicinal effects for the bees such as salvia, butterfly plants like echiums, lavender and rosemary, they are more of a feel good when you see a bee or two on them. But realistically to increase your honey yield you will need a forest. One flower produces a tiny amount of nectar each morning, this is about 90-95% water and needs to be reduced to 15-18% to be honey so you will need to have acres of flowering plants or mature trees. Pests are another thing altogether, hive moths and beetles are my worst nightmare, nothing seems to stop them except to keep the hive fully loaded with a strong population of bees.

Did you mean Paterson’s Curse Rodderick?

I didn’t know that can produce toxic honey. I have plenty of that weed around here, and I just looked up what’s toxic about it, and it is carcinogenic.

:skull_and_crossbones: :rage:

Just did a search on this forum here’s a post of Peter saying he moves his hives 150km so his bees can feed on Patterson’s Curse!


sorry, my spelling is not great today… I have a bucket of the stuff in storage, not from my bees but it does make a great Mead. And Peter is right, the bees thrive on it.

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I know cattle farmers remove cattle when the Patterson’s Curse is in flower, it gives them bloat, but no effect on bees or sheep for some reason. It is a great producer of both nectar and pollen and when in flower the bees ignore everything else. Maybe Rodderick meant to say it is toxic to cattle in which case I would agree with him, but it isn’t that Patterson’s Curse (another name for it is Salvation Jane) honey is toxic to humans. It is a very common early Spring flowering thru the Eastern states especially on the western slopes of the Great dividing range.