Zheko Radev


The purpose of this study is to identify the impact of different protein content of pollen on honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) reproduction. The study was carried out using five bee colonies, housed in 10-frame Langstroth hives. At the end of each month the colonies were inspected for quantity workers brood. Pollen traps were placed into the bee hives and the pollen pellets were harvested every 2 days from April until September. Pollen from plants blooming in spring had higher protein content- average 24.2% than those from summer- average 19.3%, and autumn- avarage 20.5%. During the spring the pollen with protein content over 21%, and especially over 27% allows the colonies to maintain a high level of reproduction. The reproduction of the bee colonies is higher, when honey bees collect pollen with higher protein content. When the protein content is going down, the reproduction of the bee colonies is also restricted. If there is autumn providing pollen with high protein content, the bee colonies grow faster in the early spring of the following year as well. There is a relationship between the protein content of pollen and the reproduction of bee colonies.


Bulgaria, honey bee, impact, pollen, protein content, reproduction

Full Text:



Abrikosov H.N. 1946. The importance of the pollen for the development of bee colonies. Beekeeping, 4: 50-51.

Andreev V.N. 1926. Collecting of pollen by bees. Sientific Apiary notes, Harkov, USSR, 51 p.

Andrada A.C., M.C. Tellerı´a. 2005. Pollen collected by honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) from south of Calde´n district (Argentina): Botanical origin and protein content. Grana, 44: 115–122. doi:

Argena N. 2013. The removal of drone brood from bee colonies to control Varroa destructor investation. Master Scientific Thesis. Agriculture School, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Greece, 70 p.

Avetisyan G.А. 1983. Breeding and keeping of bees. Kolos, Moscow, USSR, 59 61 p.

Bilash N.G. 1990. Influence the quality of pollen stocks of bees. Beekeeping, 4: 6 7.

Campana J., F.E. Moeller. 1977. Honey bees: preference for and nutritive value of pollen from five plant sources. Journal Of Economic Entomology, 70: 39-44.

Crailsheim K. 1990. The protein balance of the honey bee worker. Apidologie, 21: 417-430. doi:

Dietz A. 1975. The hive and the honey bee. Nutrition of the adult honey bee. Ed. Dadant & Sons, Journal Printing Co., Illinois, US, 125-156 p.

Doull К.М. 1972. Behavior of bees involved in pollination. Proceeding Beekeeping Australia, 1st Australian congress, Australia, 192-197.

Estevinho L.M., S. Rodrigues, A.P. Pereira, X. Fea´s. 2012. Portuguese bee pollen: palynological study, nutritional and microbiological evaluation. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 47: 429–435. doi:

Haydak M.A. 1935. Brood rearing by honey bees confined to a pure carbohydrate diet. Journal Of Economic Entomology, 28: 657-660. doi:

Haydak M.H. 1970. Honey bee nutrition. Annual Review of Entomology, 15: 143 156. doi:

Herbert E.W.J. 1992. The Hive and the Honey Bee. Honey bee nutrition. In: Graham J. M. (Ed.). Dadant & Sons. Hamilton, IL, US, 197-233 p.

Herbert E.Jr. 2000. The Hive and the Honey Bee. Honey bee nutrition. In: Graham J. M. (Ed.). Dadant & Sons. Carthage, Illinois, US, 197-224 p.

Kleinschmidt G.J., A.C. Kondos. 1976. Influence of crude protein levels on colony production. The Australian Beekeeper, 78: 36–39.

Kleinschmidt G.J., A.K. Kondos. 1977. Influence of protein contained in the food to the productivity of bee colonies. Proceeding XXVI International Congress on beekeeping. Adelaide-Australia, 356-361.

Krasnopeev М.Z. 1939. The value of pollen during wintering of bee colonies and in their spring development. Beekeeping, 9: 26-28.

Lavrehin F., S. Pankova. 1983. Biology of honey bee. Kolos, Moscow, USSR, 52 73 p.

Levin M.D., G.E. Bohart. 1955. Selection of pollen by honey bees. American Bee Journal, 95: 402.

Liolios V., C. Tananaki, M. Dimou, D. Kanelis, G. Goras, E. Karazafiris, A. Thrasyvoulou. 2016. Ranking pollen from bee plants according to their protein contribution to honey bees. Journal of Apicultural Research, 54: 582-592. doi:

Loper G.M., R.L. Berdel. 1980. The effects of nine pollen diets on brood rearing of honey bees. Apidologie, 11: 351-359. doi:

Louveaux J. 1958. Recherches cur la recolte du pollen par les abeilless (Apis mellifica L.). Annals Abeille, 1: 113-138, 197-221.

Matilla H., G. Otis. 2006. Effects of pollen availability and Nosema infection during the spring on division of labour and survival of worker honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Enviromental entomology, 35: 708-717. doi:

Maurizio A. 1950. The influence of pollen feeding and brood rearing on the length of life and physiological condition of the honey bees preliminary report. Bee World, 31: 9–12. doi:

Microsoft Excel 2007 (v12.0) software for Windows. Microsoft, USA.

Mitropolskiy А.М. 1935. Pollen and bee pollen as food for the bees. Beekeeping, 1: 25-27.

Moezel P.G., J.C. Delefs, W.A. Loneragan, D.T. Bell. 1987. Pollen selection by honey bees in shrublands of the northern sand plains of western Australia. Journal Of Apicultural Research, 26: 224-232. doi:

Oliveira K.C., M. Moriya, R.A. Azedo, L.B. Almeida-Muradian, E.W. Teixeira, M.L. Alves, A.C. Moreti. 2009. Relationship between botanical origin and antioxidants vitamins of bee-collected pollen. Quı´mica Nova, 32: 1099–1102. doi:

Perelson I.E. 1962. The amino acid composition of pollen in some honey and pollen giving plants. Bulletin Of Royal Botanic Garden Of The USSR, 46: 69-74.

Pernal S.F., R.W. Currie. 2002. Discrimination and preferences for pollen-based cues by foraging honey bees, Apis mellifera L. Animal Behaviour, 63: 369–390. doi:

Rabie A., J. Wells, L. Dent. 1983. The nitrogen content of pollen protein. Journal of Apicultural Research, 22: 119-123. doi:

Radev Z. 2018. Variety in Protein Content of Pollen from 50 Plants from Bulgaria. Bee World, 95: 81-83. doi:

Radev Z. 2018. The impact of different protein content on honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) development. American Journal of Entomology, 2 : 23-27. doi: 10.11648/j.aje.20180203.11

Radev Zh., V. Liolios, C. Tananaki, A. Thrasyvoulou. 2014. The Impact of the Nutritive Value of Pollen on the Development, Reproduction and Productivity of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera L.). Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 20: 685-689.

Roulston T.H., J.H. Cane. 2000. Pollen nutritional content and digestibility for animals. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 222: 187-209. doi:

Shaw D.E. 1999. Bees and fungi, with special reference to certain plants pathogens. Australian Plant Pathology, 28: 269-282.

Sommerville D.C. 2001. Nutritional value of bee collected pollens. A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Publication No. 01/047; Project No. DAN-134A; NSW Agriculture Goulburn, NSW Kustry, Australia, 57–58 p.

Standifer L.N., M.H. Haydak, J.P. Mills, M.D. Levin. 1973a. Influence of pollen in artificial diets on food consumption and brood production in honey bee colonies. American Bee Journal, 113: 94-95.

Stanley R.G., H.F. Linskens. 1974. Storage. In Pollen biology, biochemistry, management. Berlin: Springer- Verlag, 56–66 p.

Stashenko V. 1988. Pollen harvesting by bees. Beekeeping, 9: 10-11.

Stroykov S. 1963. Digestibility of pollen by the bees. Beekeeping, 6: 23-25.

Taranov G.F. 1961. Biology of the bee colony. Publishing House Of The Agricultural literature. Moscow, USSR, 336 p.

Taranov G. F. 1972. Food and feeding of the bees. Rosselhozizdat-Moscow, USSR, 12-34 p., 112 p.

Tyurner J.V., G.J Kleinschmidt, A.K. Kondos, J. Harden. 1972. Study of bee colonies which are involve to honey collection with two types of eucalyptus. Beekeeping Australia, 1st Australian congress. Australia, 74-79 p.

Yang K., D. Wu, X. Ye, D. Liu, J. Chen, P. Sun. 2013. Characterization of chemical composition of bee pollen in China. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61: 708–718. doi:


  • There are currently no refbacks.

New knowledge Journal of science Jubilee edition is financed by the National Science Fund of the Republic of Bulgaria – contract № ДНП 05/52 от 22.12.2016 in the competition of Bulgarian scientific periodicals – 2016

The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the National Science Fund of the Republic of Bulgaria. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and should not be considered as representative of the National Science Fund’s official position.

National Science Fund of Bulgaria