Ask A Beekeeper: Mountain Laurel

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Does Mountain Laurel make honey toxic?

The simple answer is yes it does, but there are two reasons not to worry about it.

First, bees don’t seem to like Mountain Laurel much and will use other nectar sources first. If it is a really dry year, they may seek out the Mountain Laurel but  in most years it accounts for a tiny fraction of a portion of the nectar used to make a given hive’s honey.  For most folks you have to consume a vast amount of the honey to get sick.

Second, the honey that bees make from Mountain Laurel is bitter. Most people are very unlikely to consume over a cup of the bitter honey to get sick.

One of the best discussions about toxic honey I’ve seen comes from a regional beekeeping group, the Picken’s County Beekeepers. Check out the details here.

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