Honeybees have been in the news a lot lately as their numbers continue to dwindle. While you may have learned more about the important role their pollination plays in the ecosystem, there still might be a lot you don’t know. As their name implies, honeybees are known for producing honey, but did you know that they also make bread?
How Bees Use Pollen and Nectar
Bees fly from flower to flower sucking up nectar. Along the way, they pick up and deposit pollen, which allows everything from almonds to apples to grow. A lesser-known fact is that bees are also collecting pollen as they go.
The pollen is packed and stored in balls behind their hind legs through a complicated process. Bees are covered in tiny hairs that pick up pollen. They then use all of their legs to collect the pollen, push it down their body and roll it into a ball, which is then deposited in a sort of natural basket on their legs. This pollen plays a pivotal role in their ability to grow the colony.
Adult female bees will mix the pollen with honey and saliva and place it in the cells of the hive where larvae are developing. This essential store of pollen is referred to as bee bread and serves as the main source of protein for the colony. Younger females disburse the bee bread to the rest of the colony by eating the bread and turning it into a liquid that can be feed to larvae, adult bees, and even the queen.
While bees also eat honey, pollen and bee bread provide other essential nutrients that allow them to keep up their constant workflow and feed the colony so that it can grow. Without access to enough pollen, their nutrients become depleted to dangerous levels. To learn more fun facts about honeybees, wasps, and other types of flying insects, visit PMi Pest Management.