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Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is a pollen ball packed by worker honeybees into pellets called bee bread. Bee bread is field-gathered flower pollen stored in brood cells with honey bee saliva, sealed with a drop of honey, in chambers of honeybees or of wood and mud created by female ground-nesting (such as the leafcutting bee) bees. With the leafcutting bee, when the pollen ball is complete, a single female lays an egg on top of the pollen ball, and seals the brood cell. It differs from field gathered pollen as honey bee secretions induce a fermentation process, where biochemical transformations break down the walls of flower pollen grains and render the nutrients more readily available.

Bee pollen is harvested as food for humans and due to the fermentation process is argued to be much more potent than flower pollen. Bee bread is sometimes referred to as ambrosia. Forager bees that gather pollen do not eat it themselves, since they stop producing the proteolytic enzymes necessary to digest it when they transition to foraging. The foragers unload the pollen they gather directly into open cells located at the interface between the brood and stored honey, creating a typical band of what is called bee bread – the substance which is the main food source for honey bee larvae and workers.

Foraging bees bring pollen back to the hive, where they pass it off to other worker bees, who pack the pollen into cells with their heads. During collection and possibly packing, the pollen is mixed with nectar and bee salivary secretions. Bee pollen is the primary source of protein for the hive

“Bee Pollen,” accessed July 6, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_pollen