About pollen

As well as collecting nectar from flowers, honey bees also gather pollen - a vital food source.

Whilst nectar provides the energy food for bees, pollen is the source of protein, as well as lipids, minerals and vitamins.

Cleverly, honey bees carry pollen back to the hive in special pollen baskets located on their hind legs.

Before being stored in honeycomb cells, the hive bees add enzymes and honey to the pollen, which preserves it. With both honey and pollen stores, the colony has nutritious food to sustain it through the long winter months.

A honey bee colony will gather 20 to 30 kg of pollen during the year. With an average load of 15mg, that is about 2 million sorties by the worker bee foragers!

Find out how pollen is collected and see pollen in honey

Bees store pollen in beeswax honeycomb. Can you see the varied colours of pollen from different floral sources? The pollen has a sheen, as bees have mixed in honey and enzymes to preserve it.

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