November in the hive

What is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is the raw material from which bees produce bee bread.  It is a natural mixture of bee secretions, honey, enzymes, wax and flower pollen.  This provides nutritional food for the bees.

How is Bee Pollen made?

  • Field bees collect pollen from plant anthers.  They then mix it with a small amount of salivary gland secretion or nectar and place it in baskets situated on their hind legs.  In this way, they can transport it back to the hive.
  • In the hive, flightless nurse bees dampen the pollen and fragment it.  Secondly, they pack it into the honeycomb cells.  Thirdly, to preserve the pollen, the nurse bees cover it with a thin layer of honey and wax.  Finally, the mixture undergoes anaerobic fermentation, producing lactic acid (a preservative).   This results in the substance known as bee bread.
  • Bee bread constitutes the basic protein source for the bee colony as well as the source of nutritional and mineral substances for the royal jelly produced by worker bees.

Is Bee Pollen a health benefit for humans?

There is a lot of potential in this unique product and it may well have some benefits for humans.  However, much more research needs to be carried out to verify benefits in relation to specific medical conditions.

Bee Pollen contains many active compounds that may have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.  Keep in mind that these can vary widely depending on the plant types and the growing conditions in the area where bees collected the pollen.   People also need to be aware of the risk of possible anaphylactic reactions if they are allergic to the particular pollen ingested.

Does harvesting Bee Pollen affect the bees?

We recommend only harvesting for short periods – two weeks at a time at the most – to ensure that bees gather enough for their own needs.  Bee bread is their only protein therefore the colony’s health may be adversely affected or even destroyed, if they are unable to produce sufficient for their own needs.

About the author : Rod

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