Bee Keeping Course: Session III – Managing the Colony Nectar & Pollen Plants of Illinois
NECTAR • Nectar is a sweet liquid (mostly sugar and water) made in special glands called nectaries that are found on flowering plants. • Necatries are most often found by the base of a flower’s petals. • Nectar is the reward given to insects and small animals for their help with pollination. • Nectar is the base ingredient of honey.
POLLEN • The male reproductive structure is called the stamen. It is composed of the filament and the anther. Pollen develops within the anther. • Pollen are dust-like grains which are unique to each type of flowering plant species. • Pollen consists of proteins, starch, sugars, fats, minerals, vitamins and free amino acids. • Bees collect pollen to feed their larvae.
POLLEN • When the bee goes to get nectar they trigger the male structures hence getting pollen on themselves. • Bees tend to confine their attention to a single flower species when foraging. • But they will move from plant to plant within that species hence favoring cross-pollination. • Some bees forage for nectar and other bees forage for pollen. • Some flowering plants will only offer offer pollen, others nectar. And some plants will offer both.
Flowers that Attract Bees • Flowers have evolved to meet the needs of its pollinator. • Color also helps to attract pollinators. • Bee pollinated flowers tend to be brightly colored in the shades of blues and yellows.
Plant List Considerations • How do you want to attract bees? • A meadow, prairie, crops • A vegetable garden, perennial bed • Some plants can benefit from bee pollinators but do not require bee visitation. • Then there are plants that require a specific insect. • Remember to choose plants that will bloom at different times throughout the season so you that bees will continue to visit. • Do your research – make sure you do not have invasive species! • Watch out for plants that are aggressive and can be difficult to control.