A BEE COLLECTS POLLEN? HOW? WHY?

Photo Courtesy Aaron Burden

FIRSTLY, WHY DO BEES COLLECT POLLEN?

Pollen from flowers is precious package made of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals for the larva. Without pollen, the larva would die. The workers bees are responsible to collect pollen to take back to the hive.

HOW DO BEES COLLECT POLLEN?

The worker bee has spiky hair on her hind legs that are called pollen baskets or corbiculae. When she alights on the anther of a flower, the pollen gets attached to the hair in her eyes and body, she uses her fore legs in tandem and brushes the pollen back. In this process, a little nectar become part of the pollen to enable the pollen to cake. The pollen is eventually brushed right back into a smooth hollow surface surrounded by hair called corbiculae on her hind legs. In this photo, the orange mound on the bees legs is the pollen she has collected.

HOW MUCH POLLEN DOES A BEE COLLECT PER TRIP

A worker bee collects up to 1/3rd of her weight in pollen. She never carries both nectar and pollen at the same time. If you look at her closely, the pollen are now pellets loaded on her hind legs. She then carries the load to the hive and deposits it into a specific cell in the honeycomb. She then cleans herself completely before setting off to forage some more and repeats the process every time she deposits pollen into her hive.

WHAT IS BEE BREAD?

The pollen is stored in the brood comb. The fresh pollen is fed to the young. Considering that the internal temperature of the hive is 32-35 degrees Celsius, there is a real danger that  pollen not consumed can get mould on them. So, the worker bees ferment the pollen to preserve it for a longer period of time. The bee adds honey into a cell that is three quarters filled with pollen  and then caps the cell. This is bee bread and comes in handy to keep the bees fed during winter. Fascinating , isn’t it?

IS BEE BREAD GOOD FOR HUMAN HEALTH?

Bee Pollen and Bee Bread is harvested from the brood comb of the hive and is consumed by people.

Bee bread is also called Bee Ambrosia. It is said to strengthen and address disorders of the immune system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, muscular system, hepatic system and digestive system. It is used to treat gastric and prostate cancers and helps in the body’s recovery from radiation and chemotherapy. It is also used to treat loss of libido or fertility issues.

“It contains over one hundred species of fungi, over eighty yeast types, over forty species of bacteria, as well as everything that is found in collected pollen from flowers: proteins, vitamins and minerals. it is rich in highquality protein, all essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins B as well as vitamins K, E, D and C. It is especially rich in vitamin P (Rutin), provitamin A (βcarotene), various minerals and oligoelements (especially potassium and iron), essential oils, enzymes, pigments and other biologically active natural substances. As a
result of the perfect balance in nature, bee bread is the only known natural food containing all the essential nutrients that a perfectly healthy human body requires.” Excerpt from paper presented by Dr Verica Milojkovic (Serbia) 11-16 OCTOBER 2018 – SIBIU – ROMANIA
APIQUALITY & APIMEDICA 2018 THE XI-TH CONGRESS OF THE XI-TH ROMANIAN SOCIETY OF
APITHERAPY

HOW TO CONSUME BEE BREAD OR BEE POLLEN

Thie flavour bee bread is sweet with a tang. It is generally recommended to begin with 1.8 tsp of bee bread/bee pollen and consume it directly. You can gradually increase the dosage to 1 tsp. Ideally, do not eat or for at least an hour after consuming bee bread to benefit fully from it. If you are consuming bee bread post breakfast, then do so after one hour.

CAUTION
While in some cultures around the world raw honey and pollen is consumed without any restrictions, it is still recommended to be cautious in certain circumstances. Bee bread should not be consumed by people with pollen allergies or sensitivity to honey and should not be given to babies. Consult your ayurvedic doctor for advice specific to your need.

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