Beekeeping 101 - Pollination
Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower. This seems like a simple mechanical act, but the interactions that take place between pollinating bee and the plant flower are often more complex than one thinks.This visit will hopefully pollinate and start the process of fertilization that will allow a fruit or seed to be produced. This fruit or seed ensures the plants reproduction.
To attract a bee a flower should have visual cues that can be perceived by the bee such as a color of white, blue, or yellow and possibly a contrasting nectar guide (visible or in LJV) on the petal to direct the probing mouthparts. Positioning flowers in clusters on the inflorescence or into a head like a sunflower may also be advantageous. A reward of nectar or pollen must be provided to the bee to stimulate return and continued visits. Without a reward bees stop visiting. It is better to spread the reward to induce many visits rather than providing a single banquet.
A bee needs to find pollen to feed brood and nectar to fuel flights and sustain the colony over the long winter months. The protein in pollen also stimulates reproduction in queens and if too much is consumed by workers it will develop ovaries and become laying workers. The honey bee diet renders carbohydrates from nectar and honey and protein from pollen. Bees will also ingest other minerals in nature usually from their drinking water. It isn't unusual to see bees licking a muddy surface or feasting near a pool of cow or horse urine.