Wonderful World of Pollen
As a Beekeeper there can be no more fascinating and heartwarming site than to see your Bees pilling in the entrance to the Hive, laden down with full loads of colourful pollen.
It is a good indicator that all is well in the Hive, that the Bees are doing what bees do best. Getting on with life, expanding the colony, and rearing hungry brood.
The differing colours never cease to amaze and enthrall me, from Orange Dandelion Pollen, to Yellow Oil Seed, to Grey Bramble, to Brick Red Chestnut, to Purple Phacelia, Green Pear and Apple, and the list goes on and on.
It is so important for the Bees health to have access to these diverse sources of differing Pollen's, as much as it is for us to do what our Mammy's told us, and eat our various fruit and veg !
What is Pollen ?
Pollen s a fine powdery substance, produced from the male part of a seed bearing plant.
Produced by and carried on the Anthers of the flower of this plant. Each Pollen grain contains a male gamete that can fertilize the female ovule.
If pollination is successful, pollen collected or dispersed by other means ultimately is deposited on the female Stigma of another flower of the same species
Pollen is transportred from flower to flower by the wind, insects, or other animals.
The Collection Process.
Bees will actively source and collect Pollen.
On landing on a flower they will actively brush their bodies, which are covered all over with tiny hairs, against the pollen carrying Anthers of the flower.
They then collect this adhering pollen, moisten it with regurgitated nectar and transfer it to specialized Pollen Baskets on their hind legs, here it adheres to a single hair in the pollen baskets
The bee can carry its own weight back to the hive in pollen.
What the Bees use Pollen for.
The Clever Bees will bring these differing Pollens back to the Hive and store it for use as needed.
It is packed into the cells in the wax comb and capped with a layer of honey. This nutritious, protein packed, stored food source is then accessed as required for both adult nurse bees, and the hungry developing larvae. It is called at this stage "Bee Bread".
As it has been mixed with a nectar solution and capped with honey it will remain edible for an extended period.
It has been studied and found to be a rich source of microbes as it slowly ferments during storage altering in composition.
Like in recent times with the growing awareness of the importance of beneficial bacteria, in relation to gut health and the resultant overall health benefits. In consuming this fermented bee Bread it is firmly believed to confer similar health benefits to the Honeybees gut and overall health as it does to us mere mortals. As well as providing a rich source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals,trace elements,enzymes or co-enzymes,fatty acids,carbohydrates and protein.
Not bad for for a simple loaf of Bee Bread ehh !