Pollen Analysis Results

I received my pollen analysis from Dr. Bryant this morning, and I was a bit shocked. It turns out the girls love the crepe-myrtles. Austin had great rains starting last fall into early summer, and I will say the crepe-myrtles had amazing blooms this year. I just never saw any bees on them. We have several in our yard and while I saw the occasional bee buzzing around the blooms, I just assumed they were not a major source of pollen or nectar.

Here is some of the technical information from the report:

Category I: contain less than 20,000 grains/10 g.  Often, honey in this category represents samples that have been pressure-filtered, honey from floral sources that produce little pollen, honeys that were partly produced by sugar-feeding bees, or honey that has been adulterated by adding high-fructose syrup.  Usually, honeydew honey samples also fall into this first category.  Pollen concentration counts in Category II: contain between 20,000-100,000 grains/10 g and indicates the honey has come from normal floral sources.  Category III: pollen concentration values range from 100,000-500,000 grains/10 g and represent floral sources that are high pollen producers or indicate that some of the comb storage cells containing pure pollen may have been mixed with the extracted honey.  Category IV: includes pollen concentrations between 500,000-1,000,000 grains/10 g.  That category along with honey in Category V: (containing pollen concentrations of more than 1,000,000 grains/10 g) indicate honey that is produced from a few different floral sources that are extremely rich in pollen (i.e., Myosotis sylvatica, Cynoglossum officinale).

Here is the official summary:

Your honey is an excellent example of a “Unifloral Honey” because it contains a dominant pollen type in the amount of 81%.  For a unifloral honey, the International Bee Commission states you must have at least one pollen type in a percentage greater than 45%.  The pollen concentration value of 35,650 pollen grains per 10 grams of honey is low, but it is within Category 2, which is in the range dominated by many Unifloral Honey samples. Because crepe-myrtle pollen is fairly large, much of it would normally be removed during a bee’s flight back to the hive.  This phenomenon results in a low pollen concentration value in honey produced from the nectar of certain taxa, such as crepe-myrtle.

In addition to this honey being an excellent example of a Unifloral crepe-myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.) honey, it also contains a small amount of nectar from another two sources, mesquite (Prosopis sp.), and privet (Ligustrum sp.).  There are also a few other pollen types represented in this sample, which might reflect very minor foraging activity of your bees on other flowers such as those of clover (Melilotus sp.), some species of mint (LAMIACEAE the genus of which I cannot be certain since many mint types produce very similar pollen), and some species of plant in the lily family (Fig. 1).  The lily pollen is very similar to the pollen of yucca (Yucca sp.) or crow poison (Nothoscordum sp.), but there are other pollen types that are nearly identical and thus without further work I could not be certain of the precise species that is represented.  Overall, this is and excellent example of a good, unifloral crepe-myrtle honey.

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4 Comments

Filed under beekeeping, pollination

4 responses to “Pollen Analysis Results

  1. This is fascinating stuff. I wonder if there’s a similar resource in NM for pollen analysis. Congrats on the unifloral honey, as that seems difficult to achieve in an urban environment.

    • I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t send him a sample for analysis. From everything I’ve read on him, he does this for folks all across the country. His e-mail is vbryant@neo.tamu.edu if you want to reach out.

      I’m definitely going to take a closer look around the neighborhood where my hive is located. It is mainly live oaks, and I really don’t remember seeing a lot of crepe-myrtles in the area.

  2. I’m pretty sure that there are a bunch of crepe myrtles in the landscaping of that office park behind our backyard (which is actually in the direction they head when they leave the hive). And there are certainly quite a few smaller trees around the neighborhood that they could’ve visited as well. I am rather stunned that they managed to focus (81%!!) on a completely non-native species, especially given all the other stuff that was blooming at the time. Crazy bees…

    • I need drive around the neighborhood this weekend to check out the flora. I also find it somewhat ironic that a tree native to China is the source of most of the nectar and pollen with all the news about cheap China honey flooding our markets.

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