Pollen harvest

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Note: Most of the content was retrieved from the books "Beekeeping Manual for beginners" by Holeta Bee Research Center and the APIRE project [1]. and from "Advanced Beekeeping Manual by Ethiopian Beekeepers Association and Netherlands Development Organization (SNV-Ethiopia).[2]


Besides carbohydrates, minerals, lipids, vitamins and water, honey bees need proteins for a balanced diet. The only protein source for bees is plant pollen. Young bees consume pollen and worker bees feed it to the brood. Pollen grains are small, male reproduction units (gametophytes) formed in the anthers of the higher flowering plants. Pollen is also valuable for human consumption and therefore it is a valuable honey bee product too and can be marketed by the beekeper. Pollen collection from the incoming forager bees can be done by removing pollen pellets from the bees before they enter the hive using a specially designed device called pollen trap. There are many designs of pollen traps (figure) with the efficiency rarely exceeds 50%, i.e. less than 50% of the returning foragers lose their pollen pellets. In this ways, it is possible to collect marketable size of pollen without affecting or interfering the normal honey production processes. The pollen trap should not be activated longer than necessary to avoid affecting the normal bee colony development.

PollentrapsHOLETABEEKEEPINGMANUAL.JPG

References

  1. Holeta (unknown date). Beekeeping Manual for beginners.
  2. Ethiopian Beekeepers Association & SNV (2011). Advanced Beekeeping Manual. Express Printers PLC, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.