It is fascinating that so much valuable food is produced from the fertilization of flowers. Honey bees collect pollen from the flowers and store it on the lower part of their hind legs where the tiny balls of pollen are grouped together to form an elongated ball.
The first picture shows the honey bee ball of collected pollen that was accidentally dropped by one of the female worker bees at the foot of the hive. It is made up of thousands of pollen grains that look as though they have all been collected off one particular species of flower.
The three pictures above are a close-up of all of the pollen grains that make up the top picture of the pollen ball. The individual pollen grains look like eggs or particles of sand. Amazingly the pollen grains all stick together to form the shape that the bee carries back to the hive. The actual ‘pollen ball’ looks nearer in colour to the first few pictures and the camera has lightened the last picture whilst I was trying to focus and enlarge the pollen grains.
Pollen is a protein and is used by the bees when rearing their young.
Pollen has also been found to be a health food for humans and so if an extra amount has been collected by the bees then excess may be gathered and eaten by humans.