The common perception is that pollen is a yellowish - orange substance that bees eat. How many colors does pollen come in? What are is the honeybee relationship with pollen? Along with other interesting pollen facts.
HONEYBEE & THE FLOWER
What is the relationship between the honeybee and the flower? It is mutually beneficial for both. The flower produces a sweet aroma to entice the honeybee to land on their petals in hopes it will bring different pollen to stimulate ovarian production and help the flower develop new seeds. As the honeybee flies closer, their body creates a static charge where the pollen clings to the honeybee ensuring that the flower's pollen is going to travel to other flowers. Flowers also provide nectar to allow the honeybee to move around and spread new pollen from the neighboring flower and collect enough to take to the next flower. This is essential for flowers that are not wind pollinated, they need pollinators to complete this cycle to ensure the next generation of flowers will bloom.
POLLEN IN THE BEEHIVE
Pollen is also the protein source for the honeybee. In addition to nectar, which will become honey, pollen is used to ensure the next generation of honeybees are healthy and strong. Before a honeybee leaves the flower, they use their legs to sweep their body and consolidate the pollen into, what look like saddle bags, pollen baskets or corbiculae. The pellet shaped pollen nuggets will make their way back to the beehive and be chewed up and stored into the honeycomb and actually ferment. This fermented pollen is referred to as bee bread, which is used to feed the larva to become the next generation of strong honeybees. Strong honeybees are the only way to ensure the colonies survival.
COLLECTING BEE POLLEN
How is it collected from the bee hive? There is a special pollen trap that honeybee passes through which causes the bee pollen to drop down into the trap. The beekeeper ensures that this trap stays on for a day or two and moved to another hive to ensure that one colony isn't impacted from the missing pollen. There are upwards of 80,000 honeybees and a large number of those are collecting pollen and nectar.
Pollen comes in all sorts of different colors and it also changes during the seasons. A color that is welcomed in early spring is a light greenish color from Red Maple Trees. This is the first large pollen boost in many places’ east of the Mississippi River in the United States. This is tremendously important for the growth of a healthy beehive population to survive the next winter. As the spring pollen chart shows above, there is a blue pollen, green pollen, red pollen and a ton of other colors. Also, some flowers produce different amounts of nectar and pollen. Honeybees pack all the colors into the honeycomb cells together, they only see in ultra-violet color anyway. We will discuss more about that in a future post. Make sure you check out the bee pollen for sale in the shop.