OK, time to head to work.
But before this honey bee starts her commute, she’s prepping her tools.
Because honey bees collect pollen.
You knew that.
But it’s not as simple as you might think.
Plants want the bees to carry the pollen away and spread it to other flowers.
That's pollination, how plants reproduce.
But bees also need to carry lots of it home – pollen is a protein-packed food for the
Luckily, they have the right gear.
They’re hairy, like tiny flying teddy bears.
She’s covered in 3 million hairs for trapping pollen.
They’re even on her eyes.
Here on her legs, they’re shaped into spiky brushes
and flat combs.
When she lands on a bloom, she really gets in there.
Nibbling on the flower’s anthers detaches the pollen.
Time to pack up her haul.
She cleans it off her eyes and antennae with those brushes on her front legs ...
like windshield wipers.
Here it is up close.
That leg wipes the pollen right off her eye.
Then she moves the pollen from leg to leg, like a conveyor belt ...
front to middle to back.
The bee does this super-fast, while she flies from bloom to bloom, moving the pollen into
special baskets on her back legs called corbiculae.
She bends her leg, using it to squish the pollen into a ball, packing it together
with a little saliva and nectar.
She can get as many as 160,000 pollen grains into each ball.
She’s hauling as much as one-third of her weight.
Back at the hive, meal prep is about to start.
But the pollen isn’t for making honey.
The honey, under this wax, is made from nectar.
They eat it for its sugar.
Bees turn pollen into something completely different: bee bread.
That’s their source of protein.
Step one: Find an open spot.
Step two: Deposit your goods and pack them neatly.
Step three: Let the pollen “marinate” with a hint of honey.
And voilà! It’s ready.
The pantry is stocked – both for adult bees and the babies that are growing in the cells
The adults pop in to drop off a special bee bread snack … a little home cooking for the hive’s
future hard-working flyers.
We’ll keep them coming.
Blue orchard bees build nests that look like stunning jewels.
And bumblebees really have to shake what they’ve got to get their pollen.
One more thing: If you love Deep Look, why not join our hive mind on Patreon today?
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