Bee Pollinating, Barbados Pocket Guide


In Barbados, the large black bumble bee (Xylocopa spp.) and the honey bee (Apis mellifera) are the most common bees on the island.


Bumble Bees    

These early morning foragers are commonly known as carpenter bees because of the way in which they build their nests. A process that involves burrowing holes in dead trees, branches, stumps and/or old timber. They use their broad, strong mandibles (jaws) to chew into their chosen future homes. Inside, they form pollen/nectar loaves upon which they lay their giant eggs. The female mixes her saliva with sawdust to form strong partitions between each egg cell.


Bumble bees are excellent pollinators of just about any vegetable and flower.

Honey Bees

Honey bees in Barbados are golden in colour with striped yellow and brown abdomens. There have hairy heads and large compound eyes. These honey-producing bees live in colonies or hives that consist of a queen, drones and workers.


Nectar and pollen from flowers provide the necessary nutrients needed for their food source. Royal jelly is first fed to the larvae by worker bees then pollen.


First a search is carried out by worker bees for nectar-rich flowers. Once sourced, a bee uses its straw-like proboscis to drink the liquid nectar and subsequently stores it in a special stomach called the honey stomach. This process continues until the bee is sated.

The process of inversion takes place at this point where enzymes in the honey stomach take charge and break down the complex sugars of the nectar into simpler sugars. This aids in lesser chances of crystallization.

Cross Section of a Honeycomb, Barbados Pocket GuideThe worker bee then returns to the hive where it regurgitates for the hive bee. This is now ingested by the hive bee and further broken down. The hive bee then regurgitates the inverted nectar into a cell of the honeycomb.

Water content is evaporated by way of the hive bees beating their wings incessantly over the nectar. The sugar now gets thick as a result of the water evaporating. On completion of the honey, the honey is sealed into the honeycomb for usage at a later stage by way of the hive bee capping it.

Team work is essential for this process to be fruitful as a single worker bee would normally produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. However, the combined forces of thousands of bees enable greater production of honey for the colony within a year.

In Barbados, hives of honeybees are kept on a small scale for honey production.


2019 BPG SunAds bit
2019 BPG SunAds imart