Pollen From Stingless Australian Native Bees
Stingless Australian Native Bees collect pollen from pollen producing flowers. The pollen is produced by anthers. Anthers are located at the tip of the stamen which is the flower male reproductive organ. Pollen is used by the bees as a food source. When needed the pollen is placed in to the brood cell for larvae to eat. The pollen is also use as a carbohydrate food source.
Once pollen is collected from flowers by the stingless Australian Native worker bee it is transferred to the pollen basket. The pollen basket is an enlarged area on the hind tibia, also known as the corbicula. The pollen basket is a concave with very fine hairs for holding pollen in place while flying back to the hive. Example photo can be seen below.
Pollen pots are created by stingless bees as a storage area to keep excess pollen safely stored. These pollen pots are created with propolis, which is a mix of bees wax and tree resin. Traditionally pollen pots are stored in the front of the hive. Worker bees that return to the hive with pollen will take the pollen directly to an un capped pollen pot. House bees will mix the raw pollen with a small amount of nectar and pack this mix tightly in the pollen pots to ferment slightly.
Both pollen and honey are vital for the success of a colony of Stingless Australian Native Bees.
Pollen Pots of Stingless Australian Native Bees
Pollen can be seen at the base of photo, the yellow balls. Brood can be seen at the top, much smaller balls.
Pollen Basket of Stingless Australian Native Bee
Arrow is pointing out the pollen collected and stored in the pollen basket on the hind leg of a female worker bee.