Bee Pollen As Supplement And Remedy


Couple of years or even months ago, a big surprise was to talk about pollen. Nowadays, bee pollen is a standard daily part of the diet of chameleons in captivity (same as in the wild), and a regular part of the supplementation schedule - side by side to calcium powder, vitamin D3 and multivitamin mixtures. It was a king fight and still there are groups of people that falsify research and speak against but the majority is already on the side of pollen, which is natural part of the chameleon diet and improves significantly the wellness of chameleons in captivity as a complex supplement. Many keepers and breeders reported after the start of enrichment of the food with pollen a general improvement if the fitness, resistance to diseases and even healing properties, especially against bacterial and fungal infections and parasites.

It is time now to start thinking in a more detail...

BEE POLLEN is a substance that has same general composition all around the globe: roughly 40-60 per cent sugars and the rest a mixture of almost any nutrient you can think of: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, trace elements and many other vital substances including natural
Yet, regardless whether we talk about the pollen collected by bee keepers or the one that contaminates the bodies and guts of pollinators, the detailed composition of it is quite variable and varies based on:

amongst continents, countries, localities

from lowlands to mountains

desert, semi-desert, dry forest, tropical forests, meadows etc.

rainy, dry, spring, summer, autumn

all this logically dependent from the blooming flowers, from which the bees collect it.

The HUMAN INFLUENCE on the planet has also strong impact on the pollen composition due to:

pollen from cities, industrial, agricultural or mining sites, along big roads etc can be polluted with dust originating from these pollution sources

industrial poisons,
disinfectants, pesticides, insecticides used in various regions for various purposes contaminate pollen

The selection of pollen collection sites and seasons by bee keepers and/or pollen collectors as well as the preference of the type/species of bees or pollinators has also a huge impact on pollen composition in terms of:

Pollen from huge monocultures of flowering plants or conifers is simple and homogeneous and containing less substances while pollen from a variable and natural landscape
can contain a big diversity of pollen granules collected from different flowers

Obviously, pollen from national parks and free nature is purer than that from areas with heavy human impact on the environment. Even standards like "organic" does not necessarily mean the pollen originates from nature, on contrary,
It is often from agricultural landscape just declaring limited or no use of unnatural chemicals.

The storage of pollen has significant influence on its quality.

It can be stored:

Especially fresh pollen, but also dried one

the most frequent way if storage

In all cases, it is good to store it in the cold, in the darkness and it is absolutely essential to store the dry one without any contact with moisture, that degrades it quickly and allows bacteria and fungi deteriorate it and produce their toxins. Also, it is not good to store it long term in mixture with Calcium Carbonate or any other vitamin or mineral supplement as it might interact and produce either unwanted or even toxic substances.
Pollen stored properly can last up to 3 years or more with keeping great quality. Opened containers and the ones exposed to humidity, needs ti be consumed within few days maximum.

The pollen is in general present in several forms:

on the pollinators bodies

received eg during industrial collection of it from conifer monocultures

in the pollinators' guts if they eat it, in different stage of digestion and decomposition

this is the form acquired by bee keepers from the bees at the entrance if the bee hive, as bees mix the collected pollen with their saliva and natural juices and nectars to form a granule transportable in their special structures on their legs. It can be stored either frozen or further dried

DRIED NATURALLY GRANULATED the dried version of the latter, the most frequent way how pollen is obtained by humans

the later is then sometimes grained to become a pulver again, but the structure of the original pollen particles is partly destroyed mechanically

The pulverized pollen is sometimes put into gelatin capsules dosed for human consumption

the pulverized or in-water dissolved pollen might be granulated (and dried) again to form bigger granules fir human consumption

Pollen is sometimes used a s part of medicinal or just sweet candies or snacks

The fermented pollen mixed with saliva of bees, wax and honey. It is called also "Bee bread" because this is exactly how bees prepare the main food for them.

honey consists from pollen substantially too

The bee pollen is in many countries (Europe, Russia, Central Asia, China, Vietnam, New Zealand, USA etc) collected as a side product of bee production and further stored and distributed for human or animal consumption as a food supplement, utilizing its very complex content and almost panacean properties.

For Chameleons, no doubt, would be best to consume pollen from their country/area of origin. The problem is, that almost nowhere, where chameleons live, pollen is collected. Thee are some exceptions such as Malta, Spain, Israel, and maybe some others, but in the vast of the range of the chameleon family, pollen is not available. Many territories have anyway been deforested and the original composition of plants have been heavily modified due to climate change and human activities.

Pollen is a commodity that is subject to many import restrictions, many countries do not allow, mainly for protection against bee diseases, the import of pollen from other territories.

So, the question is now, in all the complexity: what works and what kind of pollen is to be used and for what?

There are two general types of pollen usage and several rules to consider.

As pollen is a natural part of the chameleon diet, it is to be used as supplement at each meal through powdering or gut-loading of feeders or both. The main practice is either to include pollen in the regular feeding of the feeders or to leave them without food a day before feeding and offering them a paste of dissolved pollen in a little of water to eat before being fed to the chameleons.
This way, the pollen is delivered to the chameleon digestive tract and digested, thus providing nutrition and supplementation with necessary nutrients, boosting immunity, adding energy and building an natural-antibiotical shield against bacterial and fungal disease.
A supreme supplementation product of Arcadia: Earth-Pro contains bee pollen and utilizes its potential.

Bee pollen has been successfulky used fir healing or supporting of healing processes in many instances, especially in the case of healing:
Mouth-rot (the cavity after removal of pus is replaced by pollen)
Respiratory and ocular infections (a dose of 1 pollen granule per 10g body weight dissolved in water and given twice a day in the course of 7-10 days was very successful in treating light and middle level RI, manuka pollen and honey is efficient even in severe infections due to high content of natural antibacterial factor MGO: methylglyoxal)
(half of the above mentioned dose on the course of three weeks)

So, what pollen to choose? What are the rules?

1. Only the best possible is good enough for your chameleon
2. Any good quality pollen is generally good. If it is good for humans, it is good for chameleons.
3. Use high altitude pollen for high altitude species and low altitude one for low altitude species.
4. Use pollen from organic or nature conservancy sources and areas preferably,
5. Not from heavily agriculturally used land or urban and industrial areas.
6. Use pollen from areas free of pesticides, insecticides and other poisons.
7. Use mixed diverse pollen preferably to monoculture one.
8. Use naturally granulated fresh, frozen or dried pollen preferably (in this sequence of priorities).
9. Use pollen from the exact area of distribution or from an analogous one (similar climate, similar plant composition) preferably
10. Use Manuka pollen/honey for therapy, not for prophylaxis. Bacteria can develop resistance as in the case of any antibiotics.

To apply these rules gives you a guide on how to seek for a good source if pollen.
As it is a substance produced locally and often subject to heavy import restrictions, there is no proven global or large-scale provider, you need to seek a local source.
The first choice should be local bee keepers with beehives in or adjacent to nature protected areas.
Grocery stores, Pharmacies and Healthy Food Stores are last choice.
Search in internet too.

Or contact us.
We have a limited but exclusive supply of pollens all around the globe, fitting the highest criteria mentiomed above.

Author: Petr Nečas