Have you ever wondered where your bees forage?
Me too! Did you know your honey “tells the story”?
Turns out a LOT of beekeepers send honey samples to Texas A & M University for pollen testing! Full disclosure – we’ve done this as well. I can not tell you how exciting it was to find out the origin of the pollen granules in our honey. It’s kind of like your bees have a secret and now you know!!
The Texas A & M Palynology Laboratory's primary focus is on analyzing pollen in honey, forensic samples, soil, and lake sediments, and from archaeological sites. Interestingly, they will accept sample “pollen” and “honey” for the pollen analysis. Provided your samplings origin is from North America the cost for an analysis is $75; otherwise the cost is $100 for other areas in the world.
According to the “January 2019” explanation and cost sheet for this laboratory, “There are approximately 350,000 potential plants from which bees can collect either honey or pollen; therefore, the challenge to identify the pollen is significant.” This document also states that 200-300 pollen grains are examined per sample in order to classify the identifiable pollens
Are you interested? It takes less than 2 oz of honey submitted to unveil your bees’ secret. How can this information help you? Very often Beekeepers will tout the origin of their honey as a “sales” technique. “Clover” honey – “Mesquite” honey – “Tallow” honey…a great tool to help your honey stand out from the rest!
Here is a picture of our Honey analysis done for the Real Texas Honey program in 2016.
I can tell you we were not only thrilled at getting to participate in the grant program, but also to find out what made our honey so good! As you can see, we are primarily Tallow and Tupelo. Tupelo? Yes… we were “shocked” as well! We had no idea there were Tupelo trees in our area, much less that our bees were finding enough to make it 28% of our pollen content. To view our entire report, of which is very interesting CLICK HERE.
What are your bees foraging on? Do you want to find out? Drop me a line when you get your findings back and let’s share the results!
For complete available instructions and cost to get YOUR honey tested
By: Chari Elam