Dear beekeepers,

Thank you for your patience over the past few months.

As you will know, Anna left UKCEH at the end of July this year – she is greatly missed but (as you might expect) she did a fantastic job of documenting every aspect of the project ready for her successor to hit the ground running.  A huge thank you to Jo and Emily who have stepped in since she left to keep sample packs going out, log samples coming in and monitor the NHMS email account – not easy tasks during the busiest seasons of the project!

There are two introductions to make today: Jenny, who is taking over the running of the project from Anna, and Ellie, who will be busy in the lab processing the honey samples over the next few months.

I (Jenny) am incredibly excited to be joining NHMS because my background is in molecular biology and citizen science – and I am also a beekeeper! I am relatively new to beekeeping having started in 2018, but I am hoping to involve my hives in NHMS to provide time-series samples for the project. My time will be split between lab work, data analysis and writing up results – NHMS is an incredible resource and I can’t wait to delve into the data to see what honey is telling us about our changing environment!

Ellie spent a year at UKCEH from 2018-9 working with different groups – including working with Anna on NHMS. She recently completed her BSc in Wildlife Conservation, and we are very happy to have her back with us processing honey samples with great enthusiasm!

We have had a fantastic response to the scheme this year and have received 1,474 honey samples in total. The pie-chart below shows where all these samples have come from:

National Honey Monitoring Scheme

(Hopefully these colours are distinguishable to everyone. Please read the pie-chart clockwise from the top, and the corresponding labels are read from left to right then top to bottom (i.e. Channel Islands, East Midlands, East of England, Ireland etc.)

This is an incredible sample return, thank you all very much. As a reminder, the scheme received:

  • 202 samples in 2018,
  • 586 samples in 2019,
  • 1,109 samples in 2020,
  • 1,163 samples in 2021 our network of beekeepers keeps expanding!

As you can imagination, the combination of our biggest sample return yet and changeover of staff this year means we are several months behind with sample processing – hence why you have not received your results yet. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we get up to speed in the lab, and I will make sure to send you more regular newsletters in 2023 to let you know how we are getting on. If you are on Twitter, you can follow our account @CEH_Honey for lab updates.

In the meantime, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Best wishes,
Jenny (on behalf of the NHMS team)