Honeybees, image by Shutterstock

Monitoring honey has benefits for honeybee health

Working in partnership with UK beekeepers, the National Honey Monitoring Scheme aims to use honeybees to monitor long-term changes in the condition and health of the UK countryside. However, we need the help of beekeepers if this scheme is to work.

Initially set up in 2018, the Honey Monitoring Scheme is a long-term programme that uses advanced analytical techniques to identify the species of plant pollen present in honey samples. This will tell us what bees are feeding on in different parts of the country and at different times of year. This information will help us identify possible threats to bees linked with floral resources.

Get involved

The National Honey Monitoring Scheme forms part of CEH’s commitment to long-term environmental monitoring along with the Predatory Bird, Fish Tissue, Butterfly and Pollinator monitoring schemes.

What the scheme will do:

  • State-of-the-art analysis: DNA metabarcoding and high precision mass spectrometry of honey samples

  • Sample archive: for future research developing new analytics, such as disease detection 

  • Provide feedback to participating beekeepers

  • Generate robust scientific data to inform future policy decisions 

Follow updates on Twitter: @CEH_honey

Related links

See a news story of how a pilot study of the scheme also identified widespread residues of neonicotinoid pesticides in honey samples collected from across the UK (CEH News 4 January 2018)

Read our educational feature on our neonicotinoids in honey research in Science Journal for Kids

 

Funders: 

  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Natural Environment Research Council