Pollen is collected by honey bees in the pollen basket found on the hind legs. A honey bee moistens the forelegs with a protruding tongue and brushes the pollen that has collected on head, body and forward appendages to the hind legs. The pollen is transferred to the pollen comb on the hind legs and then combed, pressed, compacted, and transferred to the corbicula on the outside surface of the tibia of the hind legs. The color of the pollen can identify the pollen source.
Honey bees are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of nests out of wax. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Species of Apis are generalist floral visitors and pollinate a large variety of plants. Of all the honey bee species, only Apis mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants. The value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars.