Pollination 101

Updated: Sep 15

Currently, there are several species of bees listed as endangered under the Endangered Species.


To produce honey and feed the colony, honey bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers.


What is nectar? It is a sweet fluid produced by flowers so it can attract bees and other pollinators.


But how does pollination work? Well, it all begins in the flower.


Anatomy of the flower

Flower is made up of different sections, the most important are the stamens and the stigma. Which are the male and the female reproductive organs of the flower.


The male and female parts of a plant are the key elements in pollination. The male parts include the anther and filament, which together are called the stamen. The stamen produces the pollen.


To be pollinated, pollen must be moved from a stamen to the stigma. When pollen from a plant's stamen is transferred to that same plant's stigma, it is called self-pollination.


When pollen from a plant's stamen is transferred to a different plant's stigma, it is called cross-pollination. Cross-pollination produces stronger plants. The plants must be of the same species. For example, only pollen from a daisy can pollinate another daisy. Pollen from a rose or an apple tree would not work.


But how does it works?

When a bee collects the nectar and pollen from a flower, some pollen from the stamens sticks to the hairs of the bees body.


When the bee visits the next flower, some of that pollen is rubbed off onto the flower's stigma.


When a bee lands on a flower, the hairs all over the bee's body attract pollen grains through electrostatic forces.


Stiff hairs on their legs enable them to groom the pollen into specialized brushes or pockets on their legs or body and then carry it back to their nest.


Individual bees tend to focus on one kind of flower at a time, which means it is more likely that pollen from one flower will be transferred to another flower of the same species by a particular bee.


Many plants require this kind of pollen distribution, known as cross-pollination, in order to produce viable seeds. The business of collecting pollen requires a lot of energy, and so many flowers attract and also reward bees with nectar, a mixture of water and sugars produced by plants.


This is how most of the plants reproduce.


No pollinators = no flowers, no fruits & no honey!


Some of the plants are self-pollinating and can fertilize themselves without any pollinators involved.



Flowers & Bees Fun Facts!

  • Bees can't see the color red, but they love poppies.

  • Bees prefer single flowers with one ring of petals because they have easier access to the nectar and much more pollen

  • Bees tend to fly more toward yellow, purple and blue flowers because they usually have the most nectar and they are loaded with sugars.

  • Sugar is the bee's main source of energy

  • Bee smell with their antennae. Which helps they to identify the direction of the smell so they can navigate straight to the flowers


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