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Why do honeybees collect pollen?

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

An average-size colony could bring in 100 pounds of pollen in one season! Pollen is an essential part of their diet, and provides a wide range of nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals from the plant.

There is a tough outer coating which protects the pollen from environmental stressors such as UV light. The honey bees digestive enzymes split the grains apart at a weak point. The interior is then digested and the empty husks are excreted! They will then secrete royal jelly from their glands to feed young larvae of workers, drones and queens. 3 days later the jelly is mixed with ‘bee bread’ which is a mixture of whole pollen, honey and enzymes.

How do bees carry the pollen?

The pollen is carried within hairy receptacles on their hind legs. These are called corbiculae or pollen baskets. One bee can hold roughly half her body weight in pollen!! Once they return to the hive, a bee will deposit the pollen from the receptacles and groom themselves to release any pollen from their bodies.

Do bees collect pollen from different flowers?

Yes they do, but they usually only forage on one type of flower on a single trip. This ensures that cross contamination doesn’t take place.

What colour is pollen?

It can be yellow, blue, purple or green! You can see different colour pollen in our images

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