Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A caller recently asked if yellow jessamine, known for its toxicity to people, was poisonous to bees. Our native bees and several butterflies serve as pollinators for this vine, our state flower. Carpenter bees, however, are too big to enter the fused floral tube and rob nectar by chewing a hole at the base of the flower.
Having evolved together, native invertebrates aren’t affected by the poisonous alkaloids found in all parts of this plant. But European honeybees are a different matter. The best information I’ve found on yellow jessamine toxicity to non-native bees is at a funny sounding website – Ask Mr. Smarty Plants at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center. It reports that imported European honeybees are harmed if they collect pollen or nectar from yellow jessamine flowers and beekeepers should provide alternative flowers for them to visit.