Buttercup bees: they are what they eat
No, no. I meant they wear what they eat. Imagine going to the store for peanut butter and coming home slathered in the stuff. That’s what bees like to do.
Pollination is enhanced by the pollen that sticks to the hairs of the bee’s body. This pollen adheres easily, and when the bee brushes against the stigma of another flower, the pollen is just as easily released–all of which insures pollination will occur. On the other hand, the pollen stuffed into the honey bee’s corbiculae forms a hard pellet. Pollen stuck together in these tight packages is essentially unavailable for pollination.
Flowers compensate for this loss–and other natural losses–by producing huge amounts of pollen. It is not unusual to see pollen coating the surfaces of cars, ponds, pools, and lawn chairs. Sometimes clouds of it waft from trees and shrubs when the wind blows. The amount the bees pack out to the hive is trivial compared to the amount produced.
If a bee comes back to the hive covered in pollen, she stuffs the pellets into the comb and other bees assist her in grooming away the rest. This bonus pollen is mixed with nectar and stored in cells just like the pellets. Nothing goes to waste.