Why Do Bees Collect Pollen in Addition to Nectar?

Written by james roland
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Why Do Bees Collect Pollen in Addition to Nectar?
Bees have special hairs on their rear legs that help them store pollen from flowers. (2 bees image by KopRio from Fotolia.com)

Worker bees, which are female bees that can't reproduce, fly from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen. The worker bees then feed the nectar and pollen to the colony's larvae, juvenile forms of the bees. Some pollen collected from one flower is also deposited by the bees on other flowers to help them thrive, a process known as pollination.

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Feed the Larvae

Pollen is a powder that contains the male reproductive cells of seed plants and is located on the stamen, a long tube that grows from the centre of a flower. Pollen also contains proteins and fats that are essential for growing larvae. When mixed with water, the pollen forms a type of bread, known as pollen-sam, that is consumed by the larvae.

Nectar Carbohydrates

Nectar is a sugary, nutrient-filled liquid found in glands located at the base of a flower. Nectar is given to larvae as a source of energy. The sticky sweet stuff provides essential carbohydrates the larvae need to become full-grown bees. Nectar, of course, is also used by bees to make honey.

Flower Reproduction

As bees land on new flowers to make collections, some of the pollen that doesn't make it to the hive is left behind. The pollen from one flower can help fertilise the next flower, helping it produce better fruit.

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