Bees pollinating corn

Corn is usually described as “wind pollinated,” but honey bees love to gather its pollen to take back to their hive to feed to their babies. As the bees rummage through the corn tassels, they release clouds of pollen that drift away to land on the silks of the female flowers. These silks receive the pollen, then the pollen’s sperm cells migrate down the silks to fertilize the eggs in what will become the “ear” of corn. On days when the wind is calm, bees seem to be the primary cause of pollen movement. Corn is therefore perhaps better thought of as both wind and insect pollinated.

Honey bee gathering corn pollen into the "baskets" (corbicula) on her hind leg. These baskets are made of combs of bristles.

Three honey bees work one tassel

The garden is out of control -- photosynthetic anarchy. Beans, corn, cucumbers, watermelons and squash vie for space in this shot. Quite a change from the diesely air and cracked concrete of Pittsburgh.

2 thoughts on “Bees pollinating corn

  1. Pingback: Do Bees...? - Buzzing About Bees

  2. S Chloe Smith

    In my garden, medium size bumblebees come when the corn blooms to pollinate the corn. They are here for about a week and then they are gone. It’s a wonderful sight. Corn here is not “wind” pollinated!


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