BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Microscopy in 2021

  • This discussion forum covers pollen, honeybee anatomy & biology.
This discussion forum covers pollen, honeybee anatomy & biology.
 #10515  by KiritGordhandas
 10 Apr 2021, 20:57
I have entered for the Microscopy Exam in November 2021 (Hopefully it will be going ahead)

Is there anyone else working on their Pollen & Anatomy slides?

If there is any interest could form a study & support group
 #10523  by MickBBKA
 11 Apr 2021, 18:31
I went as far as buying all the kit and our association took some excellent lessons from Shirley and Richard Bond but we never went as far as the exams for several differing reasons amongst the group of us. It is a fantastic subject and very rewarding for the keen budding microscopist.
My best advice is to learn how to prepare pollen slides and start gathering pollen from plants you can identify which you can build a pollen library of your own from. Then you can find out what your bees have been up to. Pollen identification resources in books and on the internet are not great. Anatomy you can do anytime. Once a particular plant has flowered that's it until next year. You couldn't find crocus, snowdrop, hazel or willow where I live now and in another week or two at most the blackthorn will be gone for another year.
Nigel was a boffin and I am sure can give you some great info.
 #10524  by MickBBKA
 11 Apr 2021, 18:40

These are 2 slides of pollen from snowdrops. The yellow grains are in their natural state and the pink are prepared with fuchsin dye, as you can see they do look very different and they are from the same flower. Its easy to think you are looking at a different plants pollen.
 #10525  by NigelP
 11 Apr 2021, 19:39
Big 5 Star there Mick.
Been trying to explain to BBKA microscopy tutors that pollen grains appear different in different mediums. Many are almost impossible to identify from honey preps vs standard slide preps. Many of the tutors are unaware that this is the case :D
This was know in the best tome I have on pollen identification, "Nectar producing plants and their pollens" by G. Hayes published in 1925. He covers many of the bee pollens and shows drawings of their shapes as dry/in water/formalin/bees leg and in honey/extracted from honey etc. All sizes in fractions of inches :)
And boy do they have different forms and shapes in different medium.
If I get the time I'll scan some of his drawings.

Nice pictures by the way Mick. Just checked Hayes and your pictures are spot on on the difference he describes.

Kirit if you need any help just shout.
 #10528  by MickBBKA
 12 Apr 2021, 01:33
Praise indeed, thank you. Unfortunately the BBKA have a habit of teaching by wrote and do not encourage investigate learning. I am inquisitive by nature so tend to do a lot of experimental self learning.

What is amazing is the triangular shape of the natural compared to the oval shape of the stained. I presume that is down to the hydration of the pollen grains ??
 #10535  by AdamD
 12 Apr 2021, 12:45
As I have mentioned before, my foray into looking at pollen grains was not particularly successful. I went on a course a number of years ago and as I couldn't identify pollen that I already knew what it was as I had harvested it myself, the idea of me identifying an unknown pollen grain is highly unlikely. However the example shows how tricky it can be.