Flatweed, or false dandelion (Clemson, p.210) is a major source of pollen for bees. Flatweed pollen has been found as a part of most pollen collections for this research. This observation has also been recorded by Lynne Muss in Victoria (Muss 1996).
Flatweed pollen by itself is not a good quality pollen for bees, with a crude protein ranging between 13% and 19% and many of the essential amino-acids below the desirable ratios, valine and iso-leucine being the major problem. (Table 38)
Flatweed pollen is very palatable to bees as they collect lots of it, yet only a little is stored in the combs. Bees working flatweed appear to be under little stress, as temperature is usually mild and other pollens and nectar are available. Bees appear to breed satisfactorily when foraging on this floral source.
Flatweed pollen seen under the microscope.
Large fat globules can also be seen (X400)
Table 38: Flatweed Hypocho_eris radicata
* Low level of this amino-acid.
Flatweed pollen contains 10% fat which can be seen under the microscope as yellow blobs of oil surrounding the pollen grains. This fat gives the beeswax a very yellow colour.
Flatweed pollen in a pure form would not be a good
pollen to collect and feed back to bees.
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