What Is Bee Pollen?
Bees collect pollen from plant anthers, mix it with a small dose of the secretion from salivary glands or nectar, and place it in specific baskets (called corbiculae) that are situated on the tibia of their hind legs — called pollen loads.
After the pollen is collected, it’s brought to the hive where it’s packed in honeycomb cells. Then the surface of the collected pollen is covered with a thin layer of honey and wax, creating “bee bread.” The bee bread undergoes anaerobic fermentation and is preserved by the arising lactic acid. The bee bread serves as the basic protein source for the bee colony.
According to the latest national data, one bee colony gives one to seven kilograms of pollen a year. Each day, the amount of pollen collected from one colony amounts to 50–250 grams. There are special devices, or pollen traps, that are used to collect pollen baskets as field bees return to their hives. The bees must force their way through the traps to get into the hive, and they lose part of the pollen basket, sending them back out to collect more pollen.
The color of the pollen varies, ranging from bright yellow to black. Bees usually collect pollen from the same plant, but they sometimes collect pollen from many different plant species. The pollen grains depend on the plant species; they differ in shape, color, size and weight.
Bee pollen is known as an apitherapeutic product because it contains groups of chemical compounds that are made by bees and used for medicinal purposes. In its composition, there are about 250 substances, including amino acids, lipids, vitamins, macro- and micronutrients, and flavonoids.