Sunflower pollen protects bees from parasites
Plant pollens vary in quality as food sources for bees, and pollen from the sunflower family (the family that includes dandelions, daisies, and thistles) is known to have some unpleasant qualities. Bees fed exclusively sunflower pollen often develop poorly, slowly, or not at all. Yet many bee species collect pollen exclusively from this family; in fact, specialization on sunflower pollen has evolved multiple times in bees. Research by Dakota Spear and colleagues suggests that parasites could be part of the explanation.
Jessica R. K. Forrest