NHMS 2021 sample pack letter

Information accompanying sample packs; NHMS 2021 sample pack letter


Thank you for agreeing to participate in the National Honey Monitoring Scheme (NHMS).  Your help means that we will be able to assess long term impacts on UK floral resources in an ever changing environment.

In this sample pack you will find:

•        Three sample tubes that we want you to fill to the top with honey.

                One to enable plant DNA barcoding

                One for inclusion in the National Honey Archive

                One to enable pesticide residue analysis

•        A pre-paid envelope and seal-lock bag to return your honey to us.


What you need to do

By signing up to the scheme and requesting a sample pack (www.honey-monitoring.ac.uk/indicia/taking-part) you have already told us the location of your chosen hive.  We would now like you to:

1)       Fill all sample tubes as close to the top as possible direct from the comb of your chosen hive and also from your most recently capped honey. Sample tubes must be filled from the same hive at the same time. Directions can be found: www.honey-monitoring.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/honey-monitoring-scheme-video-sampling-protocol-online.

2)       Each tube is labelled with your unique sample ID and a blank fields asking for the county and date of collection. Please fill in these blank fields at point of honey collection, but do not write any other additional information on the tubes.

3)       Fill in the questionnaire (sample submission) specific to this honey sample as much as you can. This can be updated at any time by navigating to your sample history details at the bottom of your Taking Part page (www.honey-monitoring.ac.uk/indicia/taking-part). Please record date of sample collection correctly. It should be the same date as that noted on your sample collection tubes.

4)       Once you have filled all tubes with honey to the top, put them into the seal-lock bag and post it back to us in the pre-paid jiffy envelope provided.


Cut off dates for 2021

Sample pack requests: Friday 8th October

Sample packs can be requested at any time however, those after the October cut-off date will not be sent out until the following year.

Sample pack returns: Friday 5th November

Any samples arriving after this date will be archived only.


Additional information

Using molecular approaches we will look at the plant DNA found in your honey (plant DNA barcoding). This will be predominantly from pollen contained within your honey and will provide information on what plants your bees have been feeding on.


We aim to assess as many samples as possible with the resources available. We will provide this information on your website page once it becomes available. You will be the only person who has access to your personal data about your honey, although in an anonymized form summary data will be publically available at larger spatial scales.


All honey samples, including those not used for DNA barcoding, will be archived for future scientific research. Further, you will receive sugar and water results - concentrations measured using a refractometer- for your honey as well as a report of the habitat surrounding your hive. At specific stages you will receive automated emails of progress. Information regarding pesticide analysis will be made available at a later date. Please see the News and FAQ pages on our website for more details.


We hope that you will provide us with three honey- filled tubes twice a year from your selected hive. However, as long as the sample submission information is correct for each sample pack requested, the hive and location can vary. For participants who chose to send us samples semi-annually, once we have received your early sample you will then be able to request another pack. Only one honey sampling pack can be ordered at a time. We aim to be fair to all participants while ensuring as wide a geographic distribution as possible.


To collect and process honey samples requires a significant amount of time. Further, molecular work can only commence once all samples have been returned and those to be barcoded chosen. We anticipate that 2021 results will be made available in spring 2022.


We thank you for your help and your participation in the NHMS. We hope you will continue to be involved into the future.

Please contact honey@ceh.ac.uk if you have any further questions.


Yours sincerely,


Prof. Richard Pywell and the NHMS Team