Interesting Bee Pollen Facts
Many people are surprised to learn that there are actually three types of pollen:
- Entomophilous pollen is distributed by insects, specifically bees. Pollen grains of entomophilous plants are generally larger than the fine pollens of anemophilous plants, and possess higher nutritional value.
- Anemophilous pollen is spread by wind. Almost all allergen pollens are anemophilous (e.g. ragweed pollen, which causes hay fever). Pollen from anemophilous plants tends to be smaller and lighter in weight than entomophilous pollen, with very low nutritional value.
- Zoophilous pollen is spread by animals such as birds, reptiles, and mammals.
A full colony of bees can actually pull in as many as 50,000 loads of pollen a day. Each bee makes an average of 10 pollen runs a day, flying up to 3 miles between its hive and surrounding flowers to gather nectar and bee pollen.
The pollen collects on the legs of honeybees as they move from flower to flower in search of nectar. The bees secrete nectar and special enzymes into the flower pollen to create what we know as “bee pollen.” The bees pack the pollen into granules by adding honey or nectar from honey sacs, as well as an enzyme that prevents germination and metabolizes the pollen for food.
Bee pollen varies dramatically in color, shape and size depending on the floral source from which it was gathered and the time of year.
For example, bee pollen from an asparagus is bright orange, while pollen from cucumbers and melons are pale yellow. Pollen from a crab apple tree is light olive, Poppies produce gray bee pollen, and fireweed yields blue pollen.
Fresh bee pollen is fluffy; never hard. When frozen, bee pollen will stay fresh for 1.5 years and 8 months when kept refrigerated.