Tea plant (camellia sinensis) questions...
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Charleston South Carolina
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    Default Tea plant (camellia sinensis) questions...

    So I'm having a hard time finding out if these tea plants are poisonous to honeybees or not. If anyone knows the answer please share. Some places seem to say they are poisonous yet they sell bags of pollen from this plant. The reason I ask is this will be the first year my hives are not going to be st my house. I have a location 30 minutes from house on wadmalaw island or my land that is 1hour away. The land that is closer just happens to be within a mile of the only tea farm in the United States. Any help would be appreciated

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Pitt, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Tea plant (camellia sinensis) questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlestonbee View Post
    So I'm having a hard time finding out if these tea plants are poisonous to honeybees or not. If anyone knows the answer please share. Some places seem to say they are poisonous yet they sell bags of pollen from this plant. The reason I ask is this will be the first year my hives are not going to be st my house. I have a location 30 minutes from house on wadmalaw island or my land that is 1hour away. The land that is closer just happens to be within a mile of the only tea farm in the United States. Any help would be appreciated
    Hi -- I asked the same question some time ago; here's a response -

    " Camellia (both sinensis and floral forms) are universally reported as toxic nectar to bees due the presence of the the strychnine-like alkaloid gelsemine in the nectar.

    Gelsemine is famously known from the nectar of Carolina Jessamine - a south east US native that is implicated in many bee deaths, especially in Texas.

    Interestingly, some native bees (Mason, etc) are able to consume the nectar without harm, illustrating the evolutionary principal that causes the toxic nectar to develop in the first place.

    Sorry to break the news. The old beeks in your area can fill you in on the dangers of Jessamine poisoning.

    There were reports of Jessamine poisoning bees in late spring of 2016 from Texas as the migratory expansion has pushed into new holding areas along the Texas coast.

    natives-carolina-jessamine-2-300x225.jpg
    source;
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1....1986.11100701
    Toxicity of Nectar of Tea (Camellia Thea L.) to Honeybees
    a paper with a reverse result: http://www.journalrepository.org/med...5AJEA21811.pdf I think this can explained as sub-lethal exposure in a mixed nectar.
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/1...IBRA.1.51.3.09
    http://garyentsminger.com/elliott%20et%20al.%202008.pdf

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...974.x/abstract

    http://gardenoftomorrow.com/carolina...-sempervirens/ "

    I wasn't happy to get the data but .... things are what they are, sometimes.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Charleston South Carolina
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    431

    Default Re: Tea plant (camellia sinensis) questions...

    Yes I read this search but I also found conflicting information. What you have cited deals more w with gelsemine. Its not toxic unless it's at so many ppm. The gelsemine content in jessamine could very well be much lower in tea plants. Also, they get the pollen to sell from honeybees in managed hives. Lastly, I have a friend with two in his yard that are ab 5 ft tall and 8ft around and the bees are all over them. I just can't find definitive evidence on the tea plant killing bees. There also isn't gonna be anywhere in the United States w this high of a concentration of tea plants so there's not a ton of research. I also read that the pollen contains caffeine and we all know how humans love caffeine.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    Default Re: Tea plant (camellia sinensis) questions...

    I find -nothing- indicating gelsemine being present in Camellia, Sinensis or any other var.

    And, they apparently -like- it:

    http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/bee_ph..._japonica.html
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,574

    Default Re: Tea plant (camellia sinensis) questions...

    I found this study that appears to be on point.

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2c5...2c5bebefb1.pdf

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