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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    524

    Default Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    Hello,

    Will the pollination of holly plants produce poisonous honey?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    My bees love holly and I haven't died or even been sick for the past 15 years, so it can't be too bad.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    Bees have an instinct to know what's good for them and the same with the flower. It's the flowers intention to produce non-poisonous pollen and nectar so the bees can do their magic on pollinating seeds.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    Thanks for the info.

    I bought 6 holly plants today. After I got home, I started to thinking about the plant being poisonous and started to worry a bit. Found articles on using honey bees to pollinate holly, but they did not mention if the honey was safe to eat.

    Thanks again,

    Nick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    Holly, both wild and cultivated, are a major source of nectar for my bees. It must be okay.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    Holly seems to be mildly invasive around here. It is not native, but seems to spread easily. Which is strange since when you look at how to start plants from seed everyone talks about how difficult it is.

    There were a few plants here when I bought my place 23 years ago. After I got bees the female ones really put on a nice red berry show (great for Christmas). We have probably hundreds in the woods now and every year a bunch come up in flower beds and lawn.

    The bees really love the trees though. It looks like they get both nectar and pollen from them. Some years they will start blooming in the fall again but most of the flowers will wait until the next year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    Quote Originally Posted by SwedeBee1970 View Post
    Bees have an instinct to know what's good for them and the same with the flower. It's the flowers intention to produce non-poisonous pollen and nectar so the bees can do their magic on pollinating seeds.
    That's true to a certain extent. Bees do occasionally gather nectar that's poisonous to them, especially in a dearth (it's better to be sick than dead), and more rarely is it pure enough as honey to cause trouble. What's good for the bees is not necessarily what's good for us also.

    While flowers are there to attract pollinators, they aren't necessarily coevolved with honey bees. For example, azaleas are poisonous enough to honey bees that they won't go to the flowers but bumble bees pollinate them all the time.

    That said, honey bees love holly and the honey is fine.

    (Most of the above info is from the ABC and XYZ and the Hive and Honeybee.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Are holly plants bad for bees and honey production?

    We have loads of holly here. No problems that we have felt. Only got one year of enough to harvest though. The bees usually need it for brood rearing. If there are later blooms then I'll take it if it's capped.

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