Partners in the National Honey Monitoring Scheme
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is responsible for many of the UK's environmental monitoring schemes, including the Butterfly, Bird and Pollinator Counts which monitor population changes and give us early warnings of species decline in time for legislation and action to halt the trend.
CEH have added a national honey monitoring programmer to this and are using samples of 50 different honeys from Hive & Keeper for the pilot set up stage before rolling it out to a national network of beekeepers.
CEH will be analysing the DNA of the pollens found in the samples of honey they collect. The aim of the programme is to monitor our effectiveness at providing diverse habitats for pollinators: for example can we see more wildflower pollens coming into our honey from farmland areas as a result of farmers being encouraged to plant wider margins and encourage hedgerows?
The monitor will also give us early warnings of the UK's bee health, again giving us time to correct any ill effects of agricultural policy etc..
The national honey monitor will give:
State-of-the-art analysis - DNA metabarcoding & high precision mass spectrometry of honey samples
Sample archive - for future research developing new analytics, such as disease detection
Feedback on the results to the beekeepers
- Generate robust scientific data to inform future policy decisions
The pilot phase is nearing an end, with Hive & Keeper involved in determining the final report and conclusions. We'll share it with you!