Matt: Bee-ing a concerned smoothie drinker, me and a few colleagues were wondering what the actual process was in collecting bee pollen. Most juice consumers use this product in our smoothies from the local juice bars. A few of us were hoping that the bees were not being injured in extracting the pollen. — The Swarm Master, San Diego
Just as baby oil is not oil squeezed from babies, bee pollen is not pollen squeezed from bees. Smoothie technology is not built on the suffering of our insect brothers. So-called bee pollen is, of course, plant pollen that sticks to bees’ legs when they forage in blossoms for nectar. It’s carried back to the hive to be stored, like the nectar, as food for the colony. Beekeepers use specially constructed hive boxes that force the hunter-gatherer bees to enter through a screen that knocks some of the pollen off their sturdy worker legs and into a collecting tray. One keeper harvests around 1000 pounds of pollen a year from his herd of five million bees, 50 pounds a week in the spring. So the whole process is buzzer-friendly and nonviolent. The bees get pollen, we get pollen, everyone’s happy. Peace and juice, dude.