sharing our knowledge.
Photographic gallery.  Thousands of particles under the microscope.
Bee Fecal Pellets Under the Microscope

Bee Fecal Pellets

This is a sample collected from the surface of a patio table during the Spring in Western Washington State.

Macrophotograph, Unmounted, Obique Top Illumination


Honeybee fecal pellets (frass) can vary from light yellow to nearly black in color. Honeybee frass consists of pollen grains, wax, and glutamine. They may be dry and cakey, soft and sticky, or slushy depending on the most recent diet and the condition of the bees. These pellets can streak or form globules on the surfaces they land on. The bees defecate in flight so surfaces between the hive and the nectar source may be spotted with these deposits. They are notorious for spotting car finishes in the Spring.

Significance in the Environment:

Characteristic Features:

Honeybee frass contain a variety of different pollen grain, crystals of highly birefringent glutamine, and wax. The wax may also form birefringent crystals but they are not as birefringent as the glutamine crystals.

Associated Particles: