Small crofton weed or mist flower is a floral source worked by beekeepers on the far north coast of NSW and south coast of Queensland. It grows on the southern side of hills in cleared rainforest country, and flowers in September. Bees placed in macadamia plantations often access crofton weed.
When small crofton weed flowers it may produce large quantities of low quality pollen.
Small crofton weed pollen has a crude protein level of 9.5% to 11.7% and amino-acid ratios which would reduce the digestibility of the pollen.(Table 19)
Bees working small crofton weed will be stimulated to breed, and can get to swarming strength rapidly. This is due to the stimulative surplus nectar available at this time of year, rather than the low quality pollen.
Beehives that are built up on small crofton weed tend not to last if placed onto a heavy honey flow that has no pollen. However, if good pollen is available directly after the small crofton weed, the strong hives are able to regenerate any body-protein shortage and can continue being productive.
There are reports that queen bees bred on small crofton weed tend not to last more than a few months.
Small crofton weed pollen, although plentiful and easy to collect would not be worth collecting for feedback, as the crude protein level is too low.
Table 19: Small crofton weed, mist flower Agerata riparia
* Low level of this amino-acid
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