Green animals » Save Our Bees Charitable Trust » Tutin Toxic Honey
Tutin Toxic Honey
Toxic honey in New Zealand is produced as a result of bees feeding on Tutu (Coriaria arborea), a native NZ bush. The Tutu plant is found in certain parts of New Zeland, particularly around regenerating bush and roadside cuttings. In urban areas it is very uncommon to find any tutu growing.The bees produce toxic honey when they gather honeydew created by the sap sucking Vine Hopper Insect (Scolypopa sp.) when they feed off the tutu plant.
To produce toxic honey, all of the following conditions are required:
-concentrations of high numbers of tutu bushes.
-high numbers of vine hoppers
-hot dry weather preventing the honey dew from being washed off the plant.
-an absence of more attractive food sources for bees
- the presence of honey bees.
Managing the Risk For the Backyard Beekeeper.
-all commercial beekeepers who sell honey are obliged to produce honey in compliance with the Food (Tutin in Honey) Standard, 2010.
-avoid eating comb honey between the middle of December to the middle of March if you live in a high risk area (Coromandel, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Marlborough Sounds, Gisborne and Napier-Taupo Rd Area).
-Monitor any Tutu bushes, vine hopper populations and nectar sources around your hive, up to a 3km radius.
- You can have your honey tested for Tutu in a laboratory but the cost is restrictive at $125 for each test. Though it is always better to be safe than sorry.
- take off any honey before the risk period. Early harvest will prevent toxic honey.
-dilute all harvested honey in a large bucket over the risk period. This may reduce any concentration of the toxin to safe levels.
-vomiting and delirium
-giddiness and increased excitability
-convulsions, stupor leading to coma.
-death in very rare cases.
-as little as 1 teaspoon of toxic honey can have a severe effect on humans.
More information on toxic honey here on the National Beekeepers Association Website.
Please watch my short Youtube video below explaining the risks of the Tutu plant.