Collection of Pollen

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

Bcrazy 

Drone Bee
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
1,460
Reaction score
4
Location
Warboys, CAMBS
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
nil bees given away all colonies
I was talking to an old beekeeper who has kept bees for over fifty years. We were discussing pollen and how it great to see the bees coming into the hive with their pollen baskets loaded with pollen.

I mentioned that on this forum there was a discussion about pollen colour and the pollen on the bees legs were possibly a darker shade than what you would find on the anthers of the plant.

He said that bees when foraging for pollen only use one type of plant to forage from until another source became available.

I mentioned that I was under the impression that bees visit a number of different flowers collecting different pollens whilst foraging for pollen, and could come back to the hive with a multi floral collection of pollen grains.

Anyway to cut a long story short he was adamant that bees will only use one type of plant whilst foraging. So I sent him the information from the Hive & the Honey Bee by Dadent and a photo of mixed pollen on a frame.

He now has changed his thinking to bees do collect different types of pollen whilst foraging.

This prompted me to this post as I wonder how many beekeepers are under the impression that bees only collect one type of pollen at any one time.
I must explain here that it only occasionally that we get a mixture of pollen grains.

They will also mix the pollen grains in cells on the comb;



Regards;
 

Polyanwood 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 7, 2008
Messages
2,194
Reaction score
1
Location
London
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
45
I think the colony collect different pollens as you can see this in the cells, and you can see this if you carefully watch what the bees are bringing in.

At the moment mine are bringing in something luminous and pale yellow and something golden, small amounts of something dirty white and dark yellow pollen. I can't absolutely tell, but it looks like the individual bees only bring in the same type of pollen on each flight. The ones bringing in the dirty white only bring a little, but the ones bringing the pale yellow, dark yellow and gold bring in loads. I don't see any mixed loads.

Am I imagining it??
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,809
Reaction score
1,097
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
Anyway to cut a long story short he was adamant that bees will only use one type of plant whilst foraging.

He now has changed his thinking to bees do collect different types of pollen whilst foraging. ;
So it is. Bees harvest only one flower on one trip. Bumbble bee visit in many species on same trip.

Bee foragers are thousands. Bees have instinct to forage different flower pollen that they get a good balanced collection of aminoacids.

I think ..the individual bees only bring in the same type of pollen on each flight.
That is correct

.
 

Bcrazy 

Drone Bee
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
1,460
Reaction score
4
Location
Warboys, CAMBS
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
nil bees given away all colonies
Finman
You posted this;
Bees harvest only one flower on one trip.
Rubbish.

I can categorically say I have examined pollen loads directly from the legs of bees and found a mixture of different types of pollen grains.

I did mention that it is not the norm that there are mixed loads, so yes bees will only collect pollen from a certain plant and return to the hive. Other times they WILL fly from plant to plant and pick up different pollen grains.

Regards;
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,809
Reaction score
1,097
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
I can categorically say I have examined pollen loads directly from the legs of bees and found a mixture of different types of pollen grains.
;

What ever. Every book say that bees use only one flower sepcies. Of couse if they get not nectar, they may look what ever flower.

But if you follow bumbble bee, it changes species to species without doubt.

I have followed bees working and pollen collection so much that I know too something.

I can understand the flower change if one flower has only some individuals on the field. So the bee look wise to change the plant.
 
Last edited:

Bcrazy 

Drone Bee
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
1,460
Reaction score
4
Location
Warboys, CAMBS
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
nil bees given away all colonies
Finman,
I have read and re-read your post and come to the conclusion that you are not convinced that bees do collect different species of pollen from different flora.

1) Foraging on a Single Plant Species ? The Hive & the Honey Bee ? Dadent.Quote;
Bees will show a strong tendency to forage repeatedly on flowers of the same species for as long as they are available. However, mixed pollen loads from more than one species are not uncommon. Maurizio (1953) during a three study found an average of 0.9% to 3% mixed loads. Mixed loads where evident throughout the season.

2) Pollen and its Collection ? John White.
Quote;
It is well to remember that contrary to popular belief, bees do not necessarily adhere to a single species of flower when foraging and a mixture of pollen may be found in a returning bee.

3) Encyclopaedia of Beekeeping ? Morse & Hooper.
Quote;
Not all honeybees are always faithful to a single plant flower species. Several studies have been made of pollen loads collected from returning foragers. The data varies, but in general from 1-10% of honey bees have been found with mixed pollen loads, usually from several plant species.

4) Biology of the Honeybee ? M Winston.
Quote;
Mixed loads are most commonly found in returning foragers, although multi-species visits have been found in up to 13% (Betts 1935, Maurizio 1953 etc)


That concludes my references and one outstanding feature is it?s only a small percentage of bees that do return with mixed loads, but none the lees it does happen.
I could not find any specific reason for this happening but to my way of thinking it could be due to the fact that a certain species of flower is coming to an end of flowering.
It could also be that it?s a time of change of pollen that is available at any specific time, as we know pollen dehisces from the anthers at different temperatures and at different times of the day.

I have taken pollen loads directly from the legs of bees and have found a mixture of pollen grains.

To finalise, please do not misunderstand what I am saying as I do realise that only a small percentage of foragers will collect a mixed load, but the majority will normally stick to one plant species as long as its producing pollen.

Regards;
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,809
Reaction score
1,097
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
Finman,
I have read and re-read your post and come to the conclusion that you are not convinced that bees do collect different species of pollen from different flora.
;
I Have million bees on fields. I do not care whar they do. Important is that they do. And the reason is how good are fields for bees.

I have seen how bumble bee has different color layers in pollen basket of leg. That is very rare with bees.

But good to know that some bees have not read books.
 

Latest posts

Top