The importance of pollen to honey bees, from which they derive most of their needed nutrients, cannot be over emphasized. Do you know from which plant types your bees are collecting pollen at each time of year? You might be surprised. More importantly, are your bees facing nutritional stress at the same time as they are facing high varroa pressure?
After spending over 700 hours on the WV Pollen Project in 2015, I would like to use the experience gained to answer further questions from beekeepers and researchers regarding their honey bees’ foraging habits. You might be surprised to find which plants your bees actually depend on. I recently analyzed a sample of fall pollen for a college in Maryland. To our surprise, even though the hives were located next to a field of blooming Goldenrod, about 95% of the bees’ pollen was actually coming from an entirely unrelated source in a completely different plant family. If you would like to have honey bee pollen pellets analyzed to identify the plant type(s) present, you need simply mail the pollen sample(s) with a completed Pollen Sample Record Sheet and payment of $80 to the address below. (WV residence add 6% sales tax.) This price basically covers preparation of samples and minimum wage to perform analysis. This is to make it as affordable as possible for individuals. If you are considering a grant to do a larger study, contact me to discuss the process and prices.
If you are investigating the foraging behavior of honey bees, I strongly recommend you follow the standard protocols developed for the West Virginia Pollen Project in 2015. Download the “Pollen Collection Protocols” pdf document and follow it carefully. This process is designed to provide an accurate snapshot of all pollen intake on the date that the sample was collected (quantitative analysis of the pollen types present). If this is done at weekly or bi-weekly intervals through the year or a season you can begin to see how pollen intake from various plant species changes over time. State beekeeper organizations or departments of agriculture can perform this type of sampling at various locations around the state and produce an accurate report on pollinator habitat statewide. This process can also be used to evaluate pollinator habitat before and after ubanization or other major impacts on the landscape.
If you would like to collaborate with me about setting up a project in your area, please contact me.
Contact me before sending samples.
Checks can be made out to Michael Staddon
1911 Buffalo Calf Road
Salem, WV 26426
Or ask about making payments via Paypal.