Mountain Laurel and honey production

Justin Smith
Wed, 24 Dec 2008 14:13:25 PST
> Both Rhododendron and Kalmia are attributed to imparting toxicity to honey> make from their pollens. Kalmia angustifolia *and* Kalmia latifolia are both> listed in this, though there needs to be signifcant amount of it around for> the honey to actually be lethal. 
I raised bee's when I was much younger.  The honey is made from the nectar of flowers and pollen is collected to feed the growing young. Bee's don't mind storing cells of pollen right next to the cells of honey. It sounds like it is actually the eating of the stored pollen that got mixed in with the honey. My dad and I always cut out the pollen cells. 
When harvesting small batches of honey. Like we use to do, I can easily see how some pollen would mingle with the honey if your not careful. Commercial honey produces use centrifugal force to extract honey from the comb. The pollen is not fluid so it does not leave the cell in which it is stored. 
When harvesting small amounts of honey, you cut out chunks of honeycomb place them in cheese cloth and squeeze the honey out. That is certainly an easy way to mix a small amounts of pollen with the honey. What you are left with is the bees wax and it is ready to melt down and make candles with a very wonderful honey scent.
Ancient peoples most likely did not bother to much seperating out the pollen cells. Most likely they did not worry too much about a few brood cells either. That would be a complete meal though. Sweet and full of protein. Sounds yummy but I think I will pass. No brood cells for me, thank you very much.
Justin Smith
Woodville, TX 8b/9a
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