Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bees Bring Pollen into the Hive

On this warm late-winter day the bees bring in pollen in large volumes. On the landing board at the entrance of the hive we see large numbers of foraging bees returning with their pollen baskets loaded with bright yellow pellets of pollen. A few others carry bright red or tan colored pellets. The pollen baskets are on the bees’ hind legs; in the sunlight, the bright pollen makes the bees look like cars with their tail lights shining. Inside the hive, the bees pack the pollen into cells using their heads as rams. Other bees mix in some honey with the pollen to make “bee bread” to be fed to the developing honey bee brood. The bees’ honey is pure carbohydrate. With the pollen, the bees are adding protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals to make a complete food for the developing brood. The hive is having a population explosion at this time of the year in anticipation of the flowers to come in the spring and summer. It takes a lot of pollen to feed the rapidly growing colony.

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