Do honey bees pollinate wheat?

No. Grasses are flowering plants that are wind pollinated. Since the grasses do not need to attract animal pollinators, the plants do not expend energy to produce colorful petals, nectars, or attractive odors.

However, the grass family feeds a large portion of the human population. According to the Food and Agriculture Association (FAO), the big three—maize (corn), wheat, and rice—account for over 40% of all human calories consumed. Other grains from grass include barley, sorghum, millet, oats, rye, tricale, teff, spelt and kamut.

Like most wind-pollinated plants, the grasses produce large quantities of pollen. Honey bees are particularly attracted to corn pollen and will collect it readily, which causes a problem when the corn is treated with systemic pesticides. The pesticide travels throughout the plant, some of it lodging in the pollen grains. Honey bees end up tainting their food stores when these chemical pesticides are brought into the hive.

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