Trees Are Toxic For Bees?
lime trees are toxic for bees, others provide a very useful nectar source. Reputedly some lime trees (tilia) are
poisonous for some bee species and less toxic for others.
If you find
dead bees beneath a lime tree, suffice to say, it’s likely you have a poisonous
An exception to this could be a
case I personally heard about. Dead bumblebees
had been found beneath a lime tree with parts of the abdomen missing. It transpired that Great tits had taken
advantage of bumblebees feeding on a lime tree, and had
eaten the parts of the bumblebee they apparently find most appetizing!
trees (also known as Linden trees) are favoured
by beekeepers, and Linden honey is especially popular in Romania,
for example, but Linden does not produce propolis. Bees may also harvest the honeydew produced by
aphids on the leaves.
Trees Are Safe For Bees?
is thought that non-toxic limes are:
or small-leaved Lime (sometimes referred
to as the Small-leaved Linden or Little-leaf Linden). This species is native to Britain, Europe,
Skandinavia, and the Caucasus.
- Tilia platyphyllos or large-leaved
lime (but also known as the large-leaved linden). It is native to Britain and other
parts of Europe. This species is pictured below (courtesy of Wikipedia).
Trees Are Toxic For Bees?
trees are regarded as poisonous for bees (or having an unfortunate effect/hampering the bee in some way), and so should be kept out of the bee
- Tilia 'Petiolaris' or weeping
silver lime (native to the Balkans)
This is what RHS say about weeping silver lime:
“silver lime is a statuesque import from eastern Europe.
Bees pollinate the flowers in summer but often die in the process as the nectar
is toxic to them. ……......
They are pollinated by bees but as the nectar is toxic
to them, you can sometimes find silver lime trees with piles of dozy or even
dead bees beneath it. Indeed, tea made from the flowers of Tilia tomentosa can act
as a sedative so the tree clearly has some strong narcotic properties”.
- Tilia euchlora or Caucasian lime – thought to be a
narcotic (i.e. induces a state of sleep of drowsiness – this would increase the
vulnerability of bees).
- Tilia tomentosa (silver lime
in the UK and silver linden in
the US) – especially toxic for bumblebees, but apparently not so toxic for
honeybees. Unfortunately, I would avoid
growing this species in the bee garden – bumblebees will still visit this tree, and if we plant
it for honeybees, bumblebees are still likely to visit and be poisoned
- Tilia dasystila are considered
toxic to bees, as are Tilia orbicularis.
(Chinese Lime) is
being sold as a pretty garden tree, nevertheless, it is toxic for bees.
are said to have a short flowering season.
My advice would be, that if you are considering buying lime trees to include in a bee garden, perhaps consider different species of trees instead – take
a look at these trees, shrubs and hedgerows for bees.
On the other hand, if you are keen to include
the lime in your garden, consider Tilia platyphyllos or tilia cordata, since it
is generally considered that both of these species of lime trees are safe for foraging
Lists of plants for bees
Did you know, most insect species are harmless of beneficial?
Inspiring children to love bees and nature
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