Bees at Work

Bees are one of the most important workers in the almond orchard.  They carry pollen from different flowers and deposit it on the pistil (the pollen tube) where it can make its way down into the ovary and fertilize the bloom.  The bees aren’t trying to pollinate the bloom, though.  They are working to make their hive stronger by either foraging for nectar or pollen to feed themselves.  The nectar is used to make honey that is stored in the cells of the beeswax and is the main food source of the hive.  The pollen is used to make a high protein food for the young brood as they are developing.

The almond bloom consists of 20-30 stamens which exude pollen from their tips.  The pistil is the large tube that extends from the middle of the flower and is connected to the ovary below.  As the bees move from flower to flower, pollen is both picked up and deposited.  It is this “accidental” movement of pollen that fertilizes the almond bloom.

In the pictures below, you can see the bee flying to the bloom and then “working” it, trying to extract nectar.