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Author Topic: Pollen Management inside the Hive  (Read 1139 times)
MrILoveTheAnts
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« on: November 30, 2007, 02:55:47 PM »

So a guard bee stands at the entrance doing what she does and then a forager comes back completely covered antenna to stinger as a giant covered mass of pollen. How does the hive deal with this?

I see bees and photos of bees that are completely covered in pollen, perhaps they're new to the job? How much of this actually makes it back to the hive and after that into a cell?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 10:14:12 PM »

Bees that return to the hive are primarily nectar gatherers and get sprinkled with pollen while gathering the nectar.  This "double load" condition can sometimes overload the bee and delay or prevent its return. 

Any bee entering a hive loaded with pollen, nectar, propolis, or water, is usually granted entrance to the hive.  A "home bee" will walk into the hive unchallenged while a drifting bee will be approached by the guard bees, inspected, and allowed to enter if load.  Bees (except drones & queens) not of the hive, arriving empty, will be mugged at the  door step.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2007, 01:22:32 AM »

Interesting side note did you know bees generate a electric charge of static electricity and that is why they get coverd with pollen head to toe belive it or not RDY-B
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Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2007, 10:34:01 AM »

MrILoveTheAnts.  Yours is an excellent question and I don't think it has been answered.....I would love to hear the answer.  I know that the bees manipulate the pollen (the pollen gatherers) into the pollen baskets on their hind tarsi.  But yes, what about the bees that accidentally get the pollen all over their bodies.  How is that indeed dealt with?  I need this answer too, someone will elaborate for sure.

Rdy-B that was an interesting comment about the bees being charged with an electric charge of static electricity.  Now that really does make alot of sense.  I love this trivia stuff about the bees, and it is actually not trivial at all.

So, do the house bees clean off the pollen from the bees totally covered in pollen?  I have seen this too and it is an amazing sight.

Have a wonderful and great day, Cindi
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2007, 11:27:54 AM »

>So a guard bee stands at the entrance doing what she does and then a forager comes back completely covered antenna to stinger as a giant covered mass of pollen. How does the hive deal with this?

They let her in. She unloads her pollen baskets (if she has pollen) and puts it into a pollen cell and packs it in with her head.  If she only has pollen on her and no pollen pellets then she unloads the nectar to the receivers and goes back for another load of nectar.  I've never seen them do anything with the pollen on a nectar gatherer.  A pollen gatherer uses the combs on her legs to pull the pollen together, mix it with nectar and make pollen pellets.  No one in the hive seems interested in what is in her hair.

>I see bees and photos of bees that are completely covered in pollen, perhaps they're new to the job?

Probably not gathering pollen, just nectar.

> How much of this actually makes it back to the hive and after that into a cell?

Whatever is in the pollen baskets.
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Michael Bush
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Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2007, 08:59:27 AM »

This is an interesting subject and still there hasn't really been a full answer to: what happens to the pollen that totally covers a bee's head, thorax and abdomen.  The only pollen that appears to be dealt with is that which has been packed into the pollen baskets.

The only thing that I can come up with is that when the bee is moving around the colony that pollen that is covering her body is rubbed off, inadvertently by the other bee's body contact. 

A pollen gatherer will spend time to remove the pollen with her hind tarsi and pack it into her pollen baskets, as Michael writes.  I think that is the only time that pollen is dealt with by the bees.  The pollen on the body is probably ignored.  I have not ever read anything about the pollen on the bodies of the bees' myself.  Have a wonderful and beautiful day, great life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 03:12:39 PM »

I've seen nectar gathers venture back out still covered with pollen.  Think cross pollination.  I've also seen bees covered with pollen being groomed in the hive (on the frame).  In the 1st instance you can have pollen transfer between bees at a nectar stop so that pollen can be carried much farther than the actual foraging range of the bee that was orginally covered with the pollen.  I see this a normal, desirable, behavior for pollenation.  In the 2nd instance I believe the groomed pollen is added to the hives stores.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2007, 08:05:54 PM »

>This is an interesting subject and still there hasn't really been a full answer to: what happens to the pollen that totally covers a bee's head, thorax and abdomen.

My experience is they go out for another load just as they are.  I suppose eventually they would groom it off, but when they are busy hauling nectar they unload at the door and turn right around.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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