Flower Sex and Allergies

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“When a bee visits an apple tree flower she picks up pollen grains from the anther and pokes her head into the flower to get a nectar reward. As she moves onto another apple bloom, her body may brush up against the stigma of the second flower, where again seeks a pollen reward. The pollen grains adhere to the bees body by means of static electricity and her plumose body (covered with fine branched hairs). The grains of pollen sticking to the hairs are thus rubbed onto the moist tip of the stigma, after which incredible things happen.”

Beautiful. If that ain’t sex, I don’t know what is.

Isn’t this fun?

In the game of reproduction, clearly we’re talking about pollen grains matching that of male sperm. Pollen grains from the stamen (male part) stroke the air and into the heart shaped pistol (female part) of the flower. If successfully connected, germination begins and soon the presence of new, blooming life is born.

Enough said.

Aside from plant pollination, why do bees eat pollen and store it in their hive for future consumption?

In order for honey bees to develop into tenacious critters (the Jillian Michaels of the insect world), pollen must remain vital to maintain a healthy diet. Honey bees are not carnivorous like those mean ol’ wasps. A strict carb and protein diet is plenty for our little honey bees. They love nothing more than breakfast of honey and dinner of pollen.

Mmmmm, sounds delightful.

During metamorphosis, all bees under four days old and all queen bees are fed “royal jelly” to help aid in proper development. Royal jelly is a crucial secretion from the head of a worker bee, which sounds gross but is entirely necessary for healthy bees. Overall the imperial jelly is composed of water, crude protein, simple sugars, and both amino and fatty acids.

Pollen also effects us humans.

Do you suffer from pollinosis in the months of May? Well you can either shoot some nasty nasal spray in your nose to mask the leaky tap, take an antihistamine to remedy your scratchy eyeballs, or the most direct solution, start eating local honey! The Introduction of pollen spores little by little will ideally reduce the allergic reaction.

From the fly to the flower.

Pollen can help catch a human.

Recent breakthroughs in forensic science have sourced pollen to be a rather fascinating lead to crime scene investigation. Think twice before clutching that clutch. Forensic Palynologists will help catch you!

Bees rule. Keep your dandelions.