24 Jan National Honey Monitoring Centre results late Summer 2019
This last Summer 2019 I had the late harvest analysed by the National Honey Monitoring Scheme. This is a government sponsored scheme whose aim is to use honeybees to monitor long-term changes in the condition and health of the UK countryside. Over a number of years honey samples from across the UK will be analysed using advanced DNA bar coding techniques to identify the species of plant pollen present. This will inform what plants the bees are feeding on in different parts of the country and at different times of year. I only learnt about this scheme last last year and so have only sent one sample in so far – the late summer harvest from the estuary site.
Apart from the usual seasonal predominance of Blackberry and White Clover, there were a few surprises.
Black Mustard, Opium Poppy and Foxglove stood out. Honey Bees are not well known to harvest from Foxgloves but maybe the Opium Poppy spaced them out so much they didn’t care.
I will be sending four samples off this year, 2020, and look forward to some more surprises.