Yukon Pollen Library

Preparing Pollen Samples from Honey Bee Pollen Balls

Collect pollen grain with a collect or collect some off the hive bottom tray (SBB - Screened Bottom Board)

Place on pollen ball onto a slide with a drop of isopropyl alcohol (to clean surface and remove protective coating on pollen grain). Use a clean stick to stir up and evenly spread. It is to make up 2 sample surfaces. Let dry or light heat on clean flame.

DIY alcohol burner. Using a standard oil lamp wick and mason jar. Make whole in the lid and insert wick through it. Use >70% rubbing alcohol as fuel.

WARNING - Use with caution at your own risk

The a 1mmx1mm cube of fuchsin gelatin is place on top of the dried pollen slides. Lightly heat on flame. Once melting start remove from flame and place small cover slip on each stained area. Let cool.

Procedure to Make the Fuchsin Gelatin: (Source Link)

  1. add the gelatin to the distilled water in a beaker and heat until the gelatin dissolves,
  2. add the glycerin,
  3. add phenol, if desired,
  4. add basic fuchsin crystals a few at a time until the solution is the color desired. Too light will not stain the pollen, but too dark may mask details of the pollen,
  5. filter the solution through glass wool or cheesecloth,
  6. pour into sterile containers such as petri plates that can be covered. If phenol is not used, refrigerate the plates and slides. They will keep about a month without refrigeration.

Preparing Pollen Slides from Collected Flower Parts

Quick video on collecting pollen from some flowers

Select a flower for pollen sampling. A bonus is when you see a bee visiting it with a pollen ball being collected (note the colour)

Fireweed x100

Dark Green/Blue Pollen

Fireweed x400

Dark Green/Blue Pollen

Penstemon Gormanii x100

Greyish Yellow Pollen

Penstemon Gormanii x400

Greyish Yellow Pollen

Salix (willow) x100

Yellow Pollen

Salix (willow) x400

Yellow Pollen



Yukon Non Native Pollen Grains

Yellow Sweet Clover x400

Brown Pollen

Phacelia Tanacetifolia x400

Dark Blue Pollen

Alsike Clover x400

Brown Pollen

Alsike Clover x100

Brown Pollen

Icelandic Poppy x400

Yellow Pollen

Icelandic Poppy x100

Yellow Pollen

Tall Hawkweed x400

Orange Pollen

Tall Hawkweed x100

Orange Pollen

Brassica Family x400

Yellow Pollen

Brassica Family x100

Yellow Pollen

Commonly Collected Rust and Fungi Spores by Bees

Urediniospores (Rust sp - summer spores) & Phragmidium (teliospores - winter spores - Aka "Cattails") x400

Red "Pollen" Ball - Sourced from Wild Roses

Urediniospores (Rust sp - summer spores) & Phragmidium (teliospores - winter spores) x100

Red "Pollen" Ball - Sourced from Wild Roses

Fireweed Rust

Pucciniastrum epilobii (Rust sp) x400

Light Orange "Pollen" ball