Plants that don't attract bee's

Hello! I have a question for a friend of mine, who would love to know if there are any types of flower plants that would "not" attract bee's? Thank you, Deb
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Plants that wind pollinated or fly pollinated, generally are not very attractive to bees.
--
Mike LaMana, MS, CTE
Consulting Forester & Arborist
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Oh yeah!! And the ones pollinated by flies smell so wonderful too!!!

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Yes, bees aren't the only flower pollinators.
There are many species of plants that are adapted to wind pollination or pollination by birds, bats, beetles, flies, ants, etc. instead.

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On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 14:21:30 -0500, "Pepperqueen"

The "carrion plant." A beautiful flower that smells like a pile of you-know-what and is pollinated by flies.
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With regard to trees and shrubs, those which bloom over winter or very early spring would not attract bees-- for example, the Hamamelis and certain Prunus.
-- David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7) email: snipped-for-privacy@beyondgardening.com http://beyondgardening.com/Albums

are
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I assume your friend has an allergy to stings. There's no other real reason not to like bees.
Foraging bees rarely sting. They will sting if they are put in a position from which they cannot escape, but if they're on a flower you can generally just brush them off without any problem. If you don't feel like brushing them off, just shake the flower and they will go elsewhere. If you get too near the beehive, however, they may sting, but they will buzz loudly around you first.
The same is not necessarily true of wasps or yellowjackets, however they are generally not a big problem until late summer or fall.
In general, the wasps and yellowjackets are more likely than bees to sting people, and it is that kind of insect you should be more aware of.
Pepperqueen wrote:

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|> |> I assume your friend has an allergy to stings. There's no other real |> reason not to like bees. |> |> Foraging bees rarely sting. They will sting if they are put in a |> position from which they cannot escape, but if they're on a flower you |> can generally just brush them off without any problem. If you don't feel |> like brushing them off, just shake the flower and they will go |> elsewhere. If you get too near the beehive, however, they may sting, but |> they will buzz loudly around you first.
Yup. My wife is allergic to bees, and we have never had much trouble, even when we have had plants black with bees.
I occasionally get stung when I grab one when gardening or tread on one in bare feet (my normal footwear except in winter), but I am not allergic, don't take much care about such things, and it happens only once every year or two. When I pick them up to move them (in my bare hands), or they land on me and I don't squash them, I never get stung.
They really aren't a problem, if a little care is taken, even for people allergic to them.
|> The same is not necessarily true of wasps or yellowjackets, however they |> are generally not a big problem until late summer or fall. |> |> In general, the wasps and yellowjackets are more likely than bees to |> sting people, and it is that kind of insect you should be more aware of.
Actually, no. While they are more likely to sting, fewer people are allergic to them.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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Any plant that flowers after August or in winter: cyclamens, carnelian cherry, witchhazel, dawn viburnum, snow-crocuses, autumn crocuses, snowdrops, hazels, winter jasmine, hellebores, winter iris, Camellia sasanqua, several kinds of pussy willow shrubs, winter-flowering honeysuckle, sarococca, kaffir lilies, heathers.... Most of these are pollinated either by winter moths, or the wind.
Even some rhododendrons & azaleas bloom so early the bees aren't yet abroad, such as 'Milestone' 'Karin Seleger' 'Crater's Edge' 'Christmas Cheer' 'Prairie Fire' 'Pink Delight' 'Seta' 'Colonel Coen' 'Abegail,' 'Lois' 'Olive' 'Conemaugh' 'PJMs' 'Fran Sumner' 'Rosamundi' 'Praecox' 'Lee's Scarlet' 'Cilpinense' R. mucronulatum, R. moupinense, R. pachytrichum, R. dauricum, R. ciliatum, R. pemakoense, R. balfourianum.... & so on.
Kaufmanniana tulips attract very few bees as they bloom too early for most bees to be active. A few solitary bees may appear early enough to take advantage of kaufmannianas.
Evening-bloomers are in general looking to be pollinated by moths. The bees are asleep by the time evening-bloomers open up & release perfume. Examples: Moonflower vine; evening-blooming varieties of daylilies & primroses & datura & jasmine; flowering sweet-tobacco; brugmansia; matthiola; yucca...
Grasses, sedges, corn, wheat, rice, oats are all wind-pollinated. There are ornamental varieties of sundry grasses & grains that have quite interesting flowers yet don't attract bees.
Dwarf conifers, if you'll settle for cones instead of noticeable flowers.
Grape flowers are mostly but not exclusively wind-pollinated & are only moderately attractive to honeybees which won't go out of their way for them, & are grapes are not at all attractive to native solitary bees. But wasps will be attracted to overripe or fallen fruit.
Hardy terrestrial orchids, usually ant-pollinated.
Big bright red flowers are not usually attractive to bees (bees prefer blue or violet flowers, or white flowers that look blue to bee vision). Bees certainly CAN see red flowers contrary to common belief (& some red flowers have more blue in them than our human eyes can easily judge), but bees do take longer to find red flowers, so bright pure reds are never their favorites, & the bigger red blossoms are trying to attract birds and/or butterflies so have evolved all sorts of tricks to discourage visits by bees. Even "bee balm" famous for attracting bees, the super-red cultivar 'Jacob Kline' can be completely ignored by bees that are all over a purple bee-balm right next to the unvisited red. Some things like trumpet-flower vines or crossvines or even some types of penstemons -- the reason they are bright red-red or orange is because they want to be visited by birds, especially hummingbirds, & some of these flowers will even have their pollen down a deep tube perfect for bird-beaks or butterfly snouts, but too narrow for bees to enter. If you planted a garden entirely of red & yellow tubular flowers, & another entirely of blue & white flat or open flowers, you'd see an extravagant preferenced for the blue & whites.
Bright red carnations & other dianthus do sometimes attract bees, but both in their color & their tendency to release their perfume at evening, they are trying to avoid being found by bees, as they are looking for hot sex with night-pollinators.
Any flower that smells putrid tends to be attracting flies instead of bees: Skunk cabbage, voodoo lilies & the majority aroids; dutchman's pipe, many flowers of the milkweed family, "starfish" cacti. FOrtunately the majority of the most awful of the awful smelling flowers only stink bad for a couple days (they stop stinking as soon as a fly has visited), & others stink only if you poke your nose right inside them, so they're still fine for the garden.
Blue potato vine. Bees may have a preference for blue flowers, but they don't seem to like this blue flower.
Asparagus. Tomatos. Peas. Gourds. Some ground-nesting bees do like gourds & squashes so it varies; some varieties are almost exclusively beetle & ant pollinated.
Native wild ginger have their flowers lying on the ground to attract crawling beetles & ants, & have a scent that discourages bees. Most things that lay their flowers flat on the ground are not attracting bees, they're attractive to crawling insects.
Super-eency flowers that appear in dense clusters to become showy despite the teenciness of the individual florets are usually trying to attract ants or beetles, not bees. Eenciest white flowers of groundcovers tend also to be ant-pollinated & are way too little for bees to bother with.
Larger flowers that attract ant pollinators rather than bees include trout lilies, jack-in-the-pulpits, cleome, snail vine, spurge...
Some flowers are trying to attract beetles as they fly. These tend to be white flowers with less than either no detectible perfume or an unpleasant perfume, & bees don't like them. Included would be Cow-parsley flower, Angelica, Magnolia, Clethra, Sumac, Goldenrod, Pawpaw, Buttonbush, California poppies, & Dogwood.
Honeybees have very little interest in Manzanita, Blueberries, Cranberry, & most other flowering/fruiting shrubs that produce urn-shaped dangling flowers. Leafcutter bees & other solitary bees do pollinate these readily enough, but that doesn't usually lead to huge numbers of bees at one time, unless you intentionally provide a habitat for them to lay eggs, & solitary bees are kind of lazy & won't hunt nectar for any distance from where they are born. A few colonizing bees (ground-nesting bumblebees) do like urn-shaped flowers but they don't travel great distances to get them, as honeybees would do for their favorites, thus ground-hives would have to be right in the garden for those bees to appear in any numbers.
Honeysuckle vines attract few bees surprisingly enough, being most heavily scented at evening to attract moths, & long-tubular flowers to attract hummingbirds but too narrow for bees to enter, & in shades of red bees are slowest to find. Any flowers that dangle & are tube-shaped tend to be inaccessible to bees (although a few solitary bees do cleverly know how to cling to the bottom of tubes &amp shake the living daylights out of them until nectar runs down to them).
I am curious why you wouldn't want bees. In temperate zones at least, the bees are extremely tame & very difficult to cause to sting or swarm, one really has to work hard at it to make them angry. My step-grampa Gordon could've died from a single bee sting but I never knew him to be stung the bees were so safe around people, & my great-grampa Perry le[t honeybee hives. Bees were all over the place but I never knew Gordon to have to rush & get a shot & be hurried to the doctor, even though all the kids were warned it was a possibility none of us ever saw it happen. So bees are innocuous & very pleasant to observe, & even the rare poor soul with an allergy is vastly more at risk of injury driving to the grocery store.
Bees will visit even those flowers they do not actually like or pollinate, just to check them out, so you can never really arrange a garden to never have bees in it at all, though there certainly are endless numbers of interesting plants that do not encourage them.
-paghat the ratgirl
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i noticed today that my winter heather was *covered* in bees. i figure it's because it's the only thing in bloom right now...
-kelly in the balmy Pacific NorthWet. (zone 8 sumthinerother)
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well, i do live in the convergence zone (Snohomish) and the weather can be quite weird up here. :-) i noticed the bees because i was out with the dog, and she was showing far too much interest in the heather for my taste.
they're probably just confused by the unseasonable weather. i know my bulbs are.
-kelly
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Any plant that flowers after August or in winter: cyclamens, carnelian cherry, witchhazel, dawn viburnum, snow-crocuses, autumn crocuses, snowdrops, hazels, winter jasmine, hellebores, winter iris, Camellia sasanqua, several kinds of pussy willow shrubs, winter-flowering honeysuckle, sarococca, kaffir lilies, heathers.... Most of these are pollinated either by winter moths, or the wind.
Even some rhododendrons & azaleas bloom so early the bees aren't yet abroad, such as 'Milestone' 'Karin Seleger' 'Crater's Edge' 'Christmas Cheer' 'Prairie Fire' 'Pink Delight' 'Seta' 'Colonel Coen' 'Abegail,' 'Lois' 'Olive' 'Conemaugh' 'PJMs' 'Fran Sumner' 'Rosamundi' 'Praecox' 'Lee's Scarlet' 'Cilpinense' R. mucronulatum, R. moupinense, R. pachytrichum, R. dauricum, R. ciliatum, R. pemakoense, R. balfourianum.... & so on.
Kaufmanniana tulips attract very few bees as they bloom too early for most bees to be active. A few solitary bees may appear early enough to take advantage of kaufmannianas.
Evening-bloomers are in general looking to be pollinated by moths. The bees are asleep by the time evening-bloomers open up & release perfume. Examples: Moonflower vine; evening-blooming varieties of daylilies & primroses & datura & jasmine; flowering sweet-tobacco; brugmansia; matthiola; yucca...
Grasses, sedges, corn, wheat, rice, oats are all wind-pollinated. There are ornamental varieties of sundry grasses & grains that have quite interesting flowers yet don't attract bees.
Dwarf conifers, if you'll settle for cones instead of noticeable flowers.
Grape flowers are mostly but not exclusively wind-pollinated & are only moderately attractive to honeybees which won't go out of their way for them, & are grapes are not at all attractive to native solitary bees. But wasps will be attracted to overripe or fallen fruit.
Hardy terrestrial orchids, usually ant-pollinated.
Big bright red flowers are not usually attractive to bees (bees prefer blue or violet flowers, or white flowers that look blue to bee vision). Bees certainly CAN see red flowers contrary to common belief (& some red flowers have more blue in them than our human eyes can easily judge), but bees do take longer to find red flowers, so bright pure reds are never their favorites, & the bigger red blossoms are trying to attract birds and/or butterflies so have evolved all sorts of tricks to discourage visits by bees. Even "bee balm" famous for attracting bees, the super-red cultivar 'Jacob Kline' can be completely ignored by bees that are all over a purple bee-balm right next to the unvisited red. Some things like trumpet-flower vines or crossvines or even some types of penstemons -- the reason they are bright red-red or orange is because they want to be visited by birds, especially hummingbirds, & some of these flowers will even have their pollen down a deep tube perfect for bird-beaks or butterfly snouts, but too narrow for bees to enter. If you planted a garden entirely of red & yellow tubular flowers, & another entirely of blue & white flat or open flowers, you'd see an extravagant preferenced for the blue & whites.
Bright red carnations & other dianthus do sometimes attract bees, but both in their color & their tendency to release their perfume at evening, they are trying to avoid being found by bees, as they are looking for hot sex with night-pollinators.
Any flower that smells putrid tends to be attracting flies instead of bees: Skunk cabbage, voodoo lilies & the majority aroids; dutchman's pipe, many flowers of the milkweed family, "starfish" cacti. FOrtunately the majority of the most awful of the awful smelling flowers only stink bad for a couple days (they stop stinking as soon as a fly has visited), & others stink only if you poke your nose right inside them, so they're still fine for the garden.
Blue potato vine. Bees may have a preference for blue flowers, but they don't seem to like this blue flower.
Asparagus. Tomatos. Peas. Gourds. Some ground-nesting bees do like gourds & squashes so it varies; some varieties are almost exclusively beetle & ant pollinated.
Native wild ginger have their flowers lying on the ground to attract crawling beetles & ants, & have a scent that discourages bees. Most things that lay their flowers flat on the ground are not attracting bees, they're attractive to crawling insects.
Super-eency flowers that appear in dense clusters to become showy despite the teenciness of the individual florets are usually trying to attract ants or beetles, not bees. Eenciest white flowers of groundcovers tend also to be ant-pollinated & are way too little for bees to bother with.
Larger flowers that attract ant pollinators rather than bees include trout lilies, jack-in-the-pulpits, cleome, snail vine, spurge...
Some flowers are trying to attract beetles as they fly. These tend to be white flowers with less than either no detectible perfume or an unpleasant perfume, & bees don't like them. Included would be Cow-parsley flower, Angelica, Magnolia, Clethra, Sumac, Goldenrod, Pawpaw, Buttonbush, California poppies, & Dogwood.
Honeybees have very little interest in Manzanita, Blueberries, Cranberry, & most other flowering/fruiting shrubs that produce urn-shaped dangling flowers. Leafcutter bees & other solitary bees do pollinate these readily enough, but that doesn't usually lead to huge numbers of bees at one time, unless you intentionally provide a habitat for them to lay eggs, & solitary bees are kind of lazy & won't hunt nectar for any distance from where they are born. A few colonizing bees (ground-nesting bumblebees) do like urn-shaped flowers but they don't travel great distances to get them, as honeybees would do for their favorites, thus ground-hives would have to be right in the garden for those bees to appear in any numbers.
Honeysuckle vines attract few bees surprisingly enough, being most heavily scented at evening to attract moths, & long-tubular flowers to attract hummingbirds but too narrow for bees to enter, & in shades of red bees are slowest to find. Any flowers that dangle & are tube-shaped tend to be inaccessible to bees (although a few solitary bees do cleverly know how to cling to the bottom of tubes &amp shake the living daylights out of them until nectar runs down to them).
I am curious why you wouldn't want bees. In temperate zones at least, the bees are extremely tame & very difficult to cause to sting or swarm, one really has to work hard at it to make them angry. My step-grampa Gordon could've died from a single bee sting but I never knew him to be stung the bees were so safe around people, & my great-grampa Perry le[t honeybee hives. Bees were all over the place but I never knew Gordon to have to rush & get a shot & be hurried to the doctor, even though all the kids were warned it was a possibility none of us ever saw it happen. So bees are innocuous & very pleasant to observe, & even the rare poor soul with an allergy is vastly more at risk of injury driving to the grocery store.
Bees will visit even those flowers they do not actually like or pollinate, just to check them out, so you can never really arrange a garden to never have bees in it at all, though there certainly are endless numbers of interesting plants that do not encourage them.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
http://www.paghat.com/giftshop.html
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