The colours of pollen do much the RAINBOW! Different plants, different pollen grains, different colour of pollen and aromas, this is the paradise of bees’ life! But it is not only the beauty in the colours of pollen as you see in this combination picture.
The more colourful your pollen is, the more nutritious it is! and this has been proven many years ago. Of cource there are exceptions and there are some plants that can be very very nutritious alone, as the Rubus sp. for example, but usually mixed pollen is better for the bees health as well as for humans. I suspect that you eat pollen, right? Think that 2 teaspoons of pollen and 1 teaspoon of honey every morning can give you the energy you need for the whole day!
On our way to meet the Citizen Scientist we pass from Volos (see previous post), where we saw this beautiful ancinet ship ‘ARGO’. Maybe, the treasure for ancient Jason and his Argonauts was the Golden Fleece (kept in Colchis by the father of Medea) but for us it was the pollen and bee bread samples colelcted for 5 weeks by the Citizen Scientists. And for sure we did not travel to collect them by ‘ARGO’ as Jason did during the mythical times! Ouaou, isn’t the right moment to say that Science meets History?
Back to the laboratory though the next day, it took us several hours to separate and register the samples, as well as to prepare them to be sent to the analytical laboratory. Laborious task indeed but pleasant, as you can see 1, what samples the CS collected at every time point; 2, the way the samples were stored and prepared; and 3, how much effort is required to have these samples ready for analysis! Colours of pollen so different! We just hope the results will be great and informative!
Pollen and bee bread are very sensitive to high temperatures and light , meaning that it is important that they are kept in cold storage immediately after the moment they are collected till the moment they will be analyzed for pesticide residues as well as for their plant origin using molecular methods. Therefore the most promising method of transferring the pollen and bee bread samples from the CSs’ places to the National Coordinators’ Lab, in our case at the Division of Apiculture in Nea Moudania Greece, is to transfer them inside a big box filled with dry ice!
And this is what we did. We travel to the place of 3 out of 4 Greek Citizen Scientists in order to collect the samples they have been collected from their 3 colonies since almost the beginning of May. July is the month for thymus honey ccollection (from Thymus vulgaris mainly, but also from Thymus capitatus, Thymus atticus or Τhymus striatus) in areas near the see but also Castanea honey (from Castanea sativa) collection in the mountains.
Great opportunity to meet the Citizen Scientist, discuss with them and travel around in beautiful places as well as historical places. Because you cannot miss stopping in Thermopiles, where the Leonidas with his 300 Spartans and other 700 Thespieis, faced the Persian huge army at 480 BC!
So here we were, almost early evening, when the 2nd sample set arrived to meet the samples already in the box with the dry ice, secure.
Then we enjoyed a relaxing walk in the port of Volos a beautiful city in Magnesia region, from where the ancient Jason started his trip with ‘Argo’, but more on this in the next post.
Our tool boxes are ready to be posted to Citizen Scientists! They have everything, at least for the start. Only towel paper is missing! Note that 2 pollen traps are also included. Unfortunately a third pollen trap did not fit in the box!
Hello! We tried out the collection of beebread with the use of a normal straw, cut in the midle. As you can see it is easy to collect form 1 cell, but then each one you add it gets more difficult. we think that up to 5 cells is ok and the weight of this bee bread is between 0.3 and 0.45 g.
Therefore, 3 straws can be used to sample 5 cells each, even 6, from each colony.