Understanding bee pollination

Understanding bee pollination

Imagine that you are a flower, a raspberry flower for example. Your stamens (male reproductive system) are very ripe, covered with pollen which falls in your pistil (female reproductive system) and will fertilize your ovaries which will grow and soon become splendid plump and tasty raspberries.

The bee: the first pollinating insect

And now a worker bee without embarrassment, lands on your petals and quickly takes out its accessories; combs, brushes, baskets and frantically collects all the pollen. In a few seconds you have lost everything. Plus a grain of pollen to ensure fertilization. You would think that you have been vampirized by this worker bee and that you will not be able to give birth to future raspberries. On the contrary, the flowers owe a proud candle to insects. Without the intervention of bees and their fellow insects (bumblebees, butterflies, etc.), pollen from the stamens is likely to fall elsewhere than on the pistil. It can be found on the ground or moved by the wind. Indeed, the very hairy bee will inevitably stain its body with pollen dust and when it will land on a new flower and rub against the pistil, it will leave some pollen seeds which will be sufficient for the fertilization of the eggs. Beekeepers have an important role in pollination, they often collaborate with market gardeners, cultivators to accentuate, accelerate the flowering process of trees, etc.

pollinisateur abeilles

For the record 

«Once upon a time there were two miserly and neurasthenic apple trees. Apple production was really low, barely a small wicker basket per season. It was misery, until a miracle happened, the apple trees suddenly began to give apples in abundance and it was discovered that beekeepers had just set up hives in a neighboring plot. The bees had pollinated our apple trees, which went from an almost sterile state to an intense state of fertility.»

pommier pollinisation

Flowers appreciated by bees

We notice that the flowers of a gray, dull, greenish tone that we call grasses or simply "the grass", are rarely visited by bees. On these plants the pollen is abundant and very fine, it is very easily swept by the winds and land happily on all flowers of the same species which are certain to be fertilized without the intervention of the bees.

On the other hand, all the pretty flowers with shimmering and vivid colors, blue, yellow, orange, white, are diligently visited by insects of all categories and more particularly by bees which ensure 60% of pollination.

bruyère fleur appréciée des abeilles

Heather

cosmos mellifère

Cosmos

Our bees have small eyes that spot blue, white, yellow and purple flowers first. The poppy for example, is not spotted by the bee, its sight cannot perceive the red color which is confused with black. This pretty flower, present during the harvest in the wheat fields is really unlucky!

Besides, the bee perceives colors that we men cannot perceive. The eye of the forager captures the ultra violet rays of the sun which are invisible to humans. So a flower that looks white to us will turn green-purple to the bee's eye.
 

The smell of bees

Note that color is not the main way for the bee to identify itself. Its real GPS is smell. It is through the pores of the antennae that worker bees perceive perfumes. Without these small antennas our little bee would be totally disoriented during foraging.

There are also the small antennas which allow the bee to work in the middle of the night in the hive, their antennas are in a way the lamps of the hive. Besides, head to a hive in the middle of the night, you will notice that the bees will spot you quickly and if you disturb them a little too much in their sleep, they will gently come to meet you to make you understand to stop disturbing them, under punishment….

The disappearance of bees