Spotted gum is an extremely valuable pollen producing tree, and on most occasions reasonable crops of honey are obtained (Clemson, p.23).
On the NSW North Coast the tree flowers every five to seven years, usually from December to March.
Spotted gum pollen has a crude protein level ranging from 25% to 31%. The essential amino-acid iso-leucine is below the required level but the large volumes of pollen and the high protein level adequately supply the bees requirements (Table 33). Kleinschmidt (1984) recorded spotted gum as having a crude protein level of 33%.
The large quantity of this pollen can often lead to the hive's brood nest becoming clogged with pollen, and restricting the space in which the queens can lay eggs. In such cases, wedging the hive s lid open will allow the bees to fly from the lid and not just the hive entrance. Bees will then store pollen in the honey supers, allowing the queen space to lay in the brood nest. The stored pollen in the honey-combs will be consumed by the bees at a later date.
Spotted gum pollen would be very good to collect and store for later feedback to the bees when pollen shortages occur.
Beekeepers recognise two types of spotted gum, the large-fruited spotted gum found in the lowland north coast forests and the small-fruited spotted gum which is found in the high forests.
The pollen from the small-fruited spotted gum is regarded as being of better quality than the large-fruited spotted gum.
The large-fruited spotted gum could be the spotted gum "lookalike" Eucalyptus henrii.
My personal feeling about this tree is, always work spotted gum irrespective of what other honey or pollen crops are immediately available. This is because bees that work spotted gum will be "high protein" bees and the good effect of the high quality pollen will be observed many months later. Queens bred on spotted gum are usually very vigorous and long-lived.
Bees working spotted gum become very aggressive.
Table 33: Spotted gum Eucalyptus maculata
* Low level of this amino-acid
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