Pollen is a product which honey bees collect from the flowers and form small clumps. Pollen consists of the male reproductive cells of plants. Pollen has a great importance in the life of bees as a food that is given to the bee brood, but also for human consumption as well as in the cosmetic industry.
In honey, bees have an important source of carbohydrates, but the need for proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals bees are finding in pollen. It is estimated that in one year, one colony has need for around 20 to 40kg of pollen. Bees begin to collect the pollen when they are old 14-17 days. In an average pollen clump there is about 100,000 pollen grains. Bees can carry about 10-30mg of pollen in one flight. Approximately ¼ of bees in the hive collecting only pollen, while others collect pollen and nectar, about 17% of the total number of bees and rest of bees in colony collect only nectar. Pollen is very important for the healthy growth of the bee colonies, and the process of pollination for the survival of many plants and animal species that depend on these plants.
Pollen by its quality and usefulness for the bees can be classified into four main groups:
1. pollen from fruit, willow, white clover, heather, chestnut, poppy seeds, plantain
2. maple, elm, dandelion, sunflower
3. alder, hazel, poplar
The pollen of raspberry is white, golden-yellow pollen of the sunflowers, deep red is pollen of the chestnut etc. .. Dried pollen has:
– 27% protein
– 13% of amino acids
– 3-10% fat
– 10-15% sugar (glucose and fructose).
Approximately 30g of pollen has sufficient dose of amino acids that are needed daily for an adult human. Pollen can be consumed dried, mixed with honey, and can be recast in the form of tablets and capsules, and also melted in water or alcoholic beverages.
Beekeepers collect pollen using specific types of bottom board. Bees enter the hive through special barriers where they opened in a diameter of 5mm and the pollen is shaken off from the honeybees’ legs. The best time to collect Pollen is in the summer time, while in the spring the bees need pollen for brood and colony expansion and shrinkage of pollen is not recommended during spring’s months.
Pollen contains about 40 % moisture and therefore is prone to mildew and is extensively attacked by the wax moths. In drying proces pollen has to be exposed to the warm air, but not directly in the sun or under infrared light, because in this case the B vitamin and provitamin A that contains pollen will be destroyed. Pollen should be scattered in the layer thickness of 1cm and so drying. Pollen is the best to dry with hot air and at a temperature of 49 ˚ C the first hour, and then at a temperature of 35 ˚ C for 24 hours. Pollen so should be dried to 48 hours when the humidity level falls to 8 % . Dried pollen can be stored at room temperature in a closed container. Fresh undried pollen can be put in the freezer and stored at -18 ˚C after collecting till time it will be used.