Pollen, which are the dust-like grains found on the stamen of all flowering plants, provide bees (which are vegan) the protein needed for complete nourishment.
The foraging bees are literally dusted with pollen as they move from plant-to-plant. They then use their front legs to collect the particles from their head and antennae, which they then pack into a “pollen basket” or corbicula (shown below), which is part of the tibia on their hind legs. Upon returning to the hive, the pollen is mixed with enzymes secreted by the bees and packed into honeycomb as “bee bread.”
People collect these pollen pellets at the hive entrance with a “pollen trap” which brushes the pollen from the bees’ legs into a collection bin. It is then harvested and consumed as a nutritional supplement. Personally, I feel bad for the bees — a day’s work taken in an instant!
While never scientifically proven, individuals who consume bee pollen tout benefits ranging from increased energy & stamina to hay fever relief to disease prevention. Bee pollen is rich in protein, with trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. It can be consumed directly, or in capsules.
Bee pollen can cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals and a doctor should be consulted before adding this supplement to any diet.