White mahogany (Clemson, p.73) is a major honey and pollen producing tree of the Northern NSW and Southern Queensland coastal ranges, flowering in late spring and early summer.
The pollen appears to be of good quality with a crude protein of 18.6% to 24.7%. However, the essential amino-acid iso-leucine is very low. On occasions valine and threonine are also low (Table 30). This will greatly reduce the digestibility of this pollen to that of a pollen containing 13% to 15% digestible crude protein. This level is low for hard working bees.
White mahogany, as well as producing large quantities of pollen, usually produces plenty of honey. If there is no other major pollen source when white mahogany is flowering and there is a good honey flow, the bees will be weakened by the experience. This can be observed by the brood nest being decreased in size, and hive populations being reduced, especially if grey ironbark or brush box is flowering at the same time.
The feeding of protein such as soyflour and pollen to the bees, in the form of a patty in the hive, may enable bees to continue breeding. Do not feed soyflour in an open feeding station, as bees will not collect this flour while working white mahogany.
However, if the tree does not produce a good crop of honey, the quantity of pollen collected by the bees may stimulate them to swarm. This often occurs early in the season, before nectar secretion occurs.
If white mahogany produces pollen in large quantities it would be useful to collect and use as feedback to bees. However, using it as a mix with soyflour would be better than using it by itself as a bee feed. The soyflour would provide additional iso-leucine and valine, as well as increasing the total crude protein.
Table 30: White mahogany Eucalyptus acmenioides
* Low level of this amino-acid
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