Hard-working bees play a crucial role in our ecosystem, helping plants reproduce. They are also vital for us – they help produce a lot of our food! Bees have a special menu of their own: they eat pollen and drink nectar from flowers. We wanted to know if honey bees can evaluate the quality of the pollen to see if it has the right mixture of different proteins and fats. We tested three types of pollen to see if they help bees grow. We then gave the bees a choice between the three types of natural pollen and between modified pollen. This allowed us to analyze the bees’ preferences and to conclude that honey bees either can’t or don’t evaluate the nutritional values of pollen.

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About this article

Summary of research
Researchers wanted to know if honey bees, and especially nurse bees, can evaluate the quality of the pollen and pick out the most nutritious one.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
April 2018

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