Dear Beekeepers,

Just in time to send a June update - I cannot believe we are 50% of our way through this year already! I hope your bees are behaving better than mine this year - I think they might have overhead me saying I wanted to use them as the poster girls for NHMS and now they're rebelling. The swarm I collected from UKCEH has been my best-behaved hive so far!

Now that we are in the midst of 2022 analysis and 2023 collection, I will update you on both in this month's newsletter.

2022 samples

I know that, if you submitted samples in 2022, the thing you most want to know is "when will the pollen breakdown for my honey be ready?". The current state-of-play for 2022 samples is:

  • sugar/water content has been uploaded for 1,380 samples (those that hadn't crystallised)
  • habitat/crop data surrounding the hive has been uploaded for all 1,481 samples
  • 1,146 samples have been filtered for pollen grains
  • 768 samples have had pollen DNA extracted
  • 576 samples have had pollen DNA amplified by PCR
  • 384 samples have been sequenced and these data are with our bioinformatician for profiling

We are still a little way off releasing the pollen data and we thank you for your continued patience. As I have explained in previous newsletters, the combination of NHMS being unstaffed for several months and a bumper number of samples in 2022 created a backlog that Ellie and I are still working our way through - while learning the processes ourselves. We understand your frustration with the delay, but if I could ask you to be kind in your emails it would be greatly appreciated.

2023 samples

Another super response from everyone this year - thank you! We have received 693 requests for sampling packs, from the following locations:

National Honey Monitoring Scheme

So far 209 samples have been returned to us and 172 samples have had their sugar/water content measured and uploaded to the website.

A few of you have asked where you can see the NHMS data from previous years. We have not yet published a data paper on these data, but are currently exploring ways to share it with you in an interesting and interactive way. I will keep you updated on this too.

Thank you for getting in touch regarding presentations about NHMS - I currently have six association talks scheduled in until the end of the year, and plenty of space for more! Zoom is likely easiest in most cases, but I am happy to travel up to an hour from Abingdon in any direction to give an in-person talk.

Best wishes,
On behalf of the NHMS team