Soybean plants are self-pollinating and do not require insects for pollination. However, soybean fields can provide important floral resources for pollinators, and there is some evidence of pollination by bees improving soybean yield.
In 2022, we screened 128 soybean varieties entered in the Ohio Soybean Performance Trials for nectar production and attractiveness of soybean flowers to bees. Bee activities were observed in all soybean varieties, but nectar production and bee visitation rate were highly variable across varieties (Figure 1). Bee visitation was primarily driven by floral nectar volume and not by flower color or nectar sugar concentration.
If you are interested in planting a soybean variety that is also attractive to bees, please see our 2022 Pollinator Ratings in Soybean Varieties Report. This report shows soybean varieties that had a higher nectar volume and bee visitation rate. Additionally, yield information for each variety can be found at: https://ohiocroptest.cfaes.osu.edu/soy2022/ for six locations within Ohio.