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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    357

    Default Robbers and Pollen

    A few weeks ago I noticed the ladies bringing in their first pollen (full sacs) of the year. It has continued, even with our fluctuation of cold, warm, sunny, and snowy weather. The fruit trees or dadelions have not started to bloom. So I am still wondering where and what they are finding in bloom. However, this got me to wondering about robber bees. Can robbers put compressed pollen in cells into their sacs from a theft of another hive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Robbers and Pollen

    Bees will rob during a dearth and typically they are searching out a nectar source or honey. Bees do not rob pollen. As for possible blooms in your area maples are the most likely candidate. I believe you guys have a maple similar to our red maple that is an early bloomer.

    What hardiness zone are you located in?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: Robbers and Pollen

    Quote Originally Posted by dnichols View Post

    What hardiness zone are you located in?
    I am in zone 5. I imagined that they had found something in bloom, but that is interesting to know that they do not rob pollen out of cells. Do you know if this is because they would prefer (easier) to rob the honey, or if they can not rob it and put it in their pollen sacs?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Robbers and Pollen

    Honey bees collect nectar from various flowers with their proboscus. The nectar is transported in their honey stomach.

    As for pollen collection the bees are covered with tiny hairs all over their body, even their eyes. As the bee flys it builds up a static charge on its body and the pollen sticks to these hairs as the bee crawls around on a bloom . The pollen particles are moistened with nectar and are then brushed down to baskets on the hind legs. In a sense they are making their own tiny pollen patties. :-)

    Once packed in the cells the bees of the colony can eat it or share with the brood but robber bees cannot remove and repack their own baskets on their legs. The pollen at this point is not attracted to the bees hairs. However they can suck out any nectar or honey quite easily with their "tongue".

    Hope this helps.

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