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00218839.1981.11100504

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Journal of Apicultural Research
ISSN: 0021-8839 (Print) 2078-6913 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tjar20
Seasonal Pollen Analysis of Nectar from the Hive
and of Extracted Honey
R. J. Adams & M. V. Smith
To cite this article: R. J. Adams & M. V. Smith (1981) Seasonal Pollen Analysis of Nectar
from the Hive and of Extracted Honey, Journal of Apicultural Research, 20:4, 243-248, DOI:
10.1080/00218839.1981.11100504
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00218839.1981.11100504
Published online: 24 Mar 2015.
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Date: 26 October 2017, At: 14:06
Journal of Apicultural research 20( 4) : 243-248 (1981)
SEASONAL POLLEN ANALYSIS OF NECTAR FROM THE HIVE
AND OF EXTRACTED HONEY
R. J. ADAMS AND M. v. SMITH
Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario,
NIG 2Wl Canada
Revised manuscript received for publication 27 January 1981
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 14:06 26 October 2017
Summary
In 1979 a comparison was made between pollens identified in samples of fresh nectar taken from 3
hives, and in the honey harvested from the same hives. Certain differences indicate the need for
wider studies of the pollen analysis of such nectar, in relation to the assessment of the floral origin of
honey from its pollen analysis. The data also indicate some pronounced differences in foraging
patterns between the colonies.
Introduction
It has been recognized that different plants produce pollen in greater or lesser
amounts, and that because of this, and differences in blossom structure, varying
amounts of pollen may come into contact with the nectar and subsequently be
recovered in the honey (Maurizio, 1975; Demianowicz & Jablonski, 1959). Furthermore, Adams et al. (1979) showed that the identity of pollens found in fresh nectar in
a hive may differ considerably from that of pollens in the honey from the?hive at the
end of the season. It is recognized that the honeybee itself can filter particulate matter
from the nectar through the action of the proventriculus (Bailey, 1952). Thus a
number of factors may influence the final pollen content of honey. The present study
was undertaken to elucidate this problem further, in relation to the pollen analysis of
honey as an index of its floral sources.
Materials and Methods
Records were taken on three colonies of honeybees moved from the University of
Guelph to a location on the Grand River, 6 km north of Paris, Ontario, Canada, in
early May. These colonies were operated on the two-queen system (Farrar, 1953).
To measure the intensity of the nectar flow, colonies were weighed at 7.30 h on
Mondays and Thursdays; fresh nectar, when available, was collected from the
colonies at 16.30 h on the same days. Combs from which nectar was to be removed
were taken only 穎rom honey supers above a queen excluder. This minimized
contamination with extraneous pollen, as bees seldom store pollen above an excluder.
The nectar (or unripe honey) was shaken onto a metal tray, collected in vials, and
analysed for pollen, as described by Adams et al. (1979).
Supers were added as required, always above a queen excluder. Honey was
extracted from each colony on 16 August and 6 September, and its pollen content was
analysed for comparison with that of the nectar.
Results and Discussion
Table 1 shows the percentage of pollen grains from each of the taxa identified, from
nectar samples collected from each test colony. Pronounced differences between the
pollen spectra of nectars were often observed between colonies on the same day. For
example, on 9 July colony 2 had apparently not yet discovered Tilia, whereas nectars
in the other two colonies already contained appreciable amounts of Tilia pollen. On
30 August Lotus varied from 1% in colony 4 to to 91% in colony 2. A wide range was
244
TABLE 1. Seasonal counts of pollen grains of various taxa (% of total number counted in the
Taxa contributing less
MAY
14
Colony number
:.!
Acer
Salix
Sambucus
Ranunculaceae
Crataegus
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 14:06 26 October 2017
Liguliftorae
Quercus
Betula
Plantago
Fraxinus
Cniciferae
Tubuliftorae
Viola
Thalictrum
4
2
20
2
2
6
60
4
10
9
1
1
6
2
2
4
2
1
3
J
JUNE
31
J
II
2
II
4
5
26
3
10
1
14 88
3
46
5
X
3
63
8
1
X
X
4
Tsuga
X
Rhus
X
AliiUS
Syri11ga
Euphorbia
Rhamnus
Virburmmr
X
22
2
5
2
2
39
1
22
X
3
19
3 4
22
2
3
4
5
4
32
1
3
X
1
2i
3
X
.,
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
1
X
1
X
1
X
X
3
X
2
7
2
X
X
X
X
X
4
16
3 4
1
X
2
1
2
9
3
X
X
1
2
1
X
1
2
2
8
1
1
1
3 10
5
5
X
1
X
X
X
1
X
X
1
X
2
1
X
X
X
2
3
1
X
Corn us
X
Aesculus
Rosaceae
Hypericum
Lotus
Lil/iaceae
Lythrum
Parthenocissus
Echium
Circium
1
46
JULY
7
3
X
18
2
6
1
2
X
X
Pinus
Trifolium repens
Graminae
Melilotus
Tilia
Medicago
:/.
4
3
15
23
3
5
1
X
X
X
10
10
14
7
23
14
7
15
1
1
2
18
1
1
1
1
4
1
6
2
4
3
1
18
22
6
4
9
1
1
1
X
X
2
16
2
1
3
1
61 54 45
11 3
58 26
13 14
6 20 12
23 13 20
9 46
1
1
2
1 4
X
43 9 6
23 42 66
1
6 8
1
2 1 2
1 2
3 2 3
83 80 60
3
1
1
7
1
X
7 4
4 1
1 1
X
3 1
1 1 2
10 22 25
8 7 9
27 17
1
1
1
1
1
X
X
X
X
X
6
2
1
X
X
2
Labiatae
Umbelliferae
X
X
3
2
2
3
1
X
X
X
9
1
6 1
9 10 3
3 4 16
2 1
X
1
X
X
X
1
X
1
9 4
2 7
X
>
X
Linaria
Trifolium hybrid!lm
:tea mays
Arcuum
Solanaceae
Centauria
Urtica
Sagittaria
Saxafragaceae
2
2
X
1 1
1
1
l
Cyperaceae
Desmodium
Myrica
Cichorium
Verbascum
Ambrosia
Trifolium pratense
Chenopodium
X
1
X
X
Impatiens
Brassica
X
Vicia
Llgustrum
4 1
:
245
sample) from fresh nectar and from honey, collected from 3 adjacent honeybee colonies.
than l% are represented by x.
4
2
30
3
4
2
J
AUGUST
lfl
lU
9
I>
4
2
J
4
2
J
4
2
j
SEPTEMBER
JU
ll
4
2
3
4
2
3
J
4
2
J
II
0
4
2
J
4
honey
l
3
lwuc.?y
"
X
7
7
1
1
1
X
1
1
1
1
X
X
1
X
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
lt
X
1
1
X
"
1
"
X
X
1
X
1
X
1
2
2
1
2
2
1
X
X
1
2
1
2
X
1
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 14:06 26 October 2017
X
3
1
X
f~
3
8
6
9 15
5
5
1
3
X
1
1
X
1
X
1 16
X
18
2
2
5
2
15 23 15
X
1
1
1
1
7
2
X
4
4
3
1
1
X
2
1
1
2
5
X
1
X
1
X
1
1
1
X
X
X
X
X
X
3
3
27
3 1 X
X
1 X 1
3 28 17 38
X
2
4
2
14
55
26 18 14
4
31
12
2
1
5
3
1
5
X
X
5
4 12
X
5
2
5
1
1
X
X
1
2
X
X
X
2
1
6
1
1
2
2
1
2
1
2
X
2
2
1
8
7
14
2
1
2
X
2
2 2
1 3
22 30 31
X
19 22 28
X
1 1.
3 6 2
1 X 1
1
5
23
X
10
7
3
2
1
1
6
9
2
X
1
8
4
4
1
1
113
7
4
2
1
2
1
6
3
2
X
X
2
2
X
3 21
1
X
6
9) lr3
1
1
18
9
9
1
2
4
3
5
1
2
1
X
1
9
1
2
1
2
3
2
6
X
X
9
3
12 11 12
X
X
X
1
X
1
5
6
1
3
1
1
X
1
3
1
6
X
8
1
3
1
9
2
13
1
1
X
14
3
2
1
X
1
6
1
1
1
1
1
7
X
1
1
2 1 1
1
35 15 21
26
X
6
4
4
X
X
X
2
517
2
1
6
2
1
3
1
4
2
14
X
4
1
X
X
X
2
1
1
1
1
X
1
3
3
53
2
X
15 8 15
x11 2
X
1
X
X
X
1
X
1
X
X
2
X
X
2
1
X
6 58
14
3
3
1
2
2
1
1
1
22 20
1
X
X
X
6
X
1
X
X
X
2
2
3
5
2
7 16 20
1
3 7 4
X
2
1
2
1
X
11 10 8
3 2 8
2 4 1
1 1
1 2 1
1 X
5 3 3
1
1
1
3
9
1
1
1
l
4
X
1
1
2
2
3
1
5
2
2
8
X
15
2
X
X
X
1
1
X
4
2
2
4
4
4
3
5
X
2
5
X
5
10 24
X
X
1
X
2
9
1
2
3
2
1
2
5
8
1
X
X
X
11
X
3 27
X
1
4 4 2
2 3 1
24 39 26
X
X
1 1
1 19
X
3
X
2
3
10
1
X
X
'8
1
3
1
5
53
1
34 11 18
1
3
X
X
14
2
5
X
X
X
1 X
1 54
913
3 1
X
4
36 38 42
2
3 3
19 19
1
1
3
2.
8
1
X
X
1
2
4
X
X
X
1
2
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 14:06 26 October 2017
246
247
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 14:06 26 October 2017
also found for Melilotus on 19 July-from 6% to 43%.
Fig. 1 shows the pollen data averaged for the three colonies, and including only
major sources (those comprising 10% of the pollen count on at least one collection
date); it also includes colony weight changes.
During the period from 9 July to 16 August, pollen from Lotus, Tilia, Lythrum and
Melilotus gave the highest counts in the nectar. The average pollen counts from the 22
nectar samples collected during this period, and those from the three honey samples
16 August, were:
Nectar
Honey
Lotus
23�
29�
Tilia
20�
6穒%
14�
Lythrum
23�
The ratio of Tilia to other pollens was much less in the honey than in the nectar. Tilia
yielded well in 1979, and gave much of the colony weight gain between 9 and 22 July.
Between 22 July and 16 August Lotus was the predominant pollen, although it
apparently did not contribute much to colony gains. The honey extracted on 16
August had the distinctive Tilia flavour and colour, and there is little doubt that it was
mainly from Tilia. Tilia. pollen is known to be under-represented in honey, and
Maurizio (1975) states that a count of 20-30% is sufficient to indicate that the honey is
largely from this plant. But even on this basis our sample would not have qualified as
Tilia honey.
A great deal of careful work has been done over many years on. honey microscopy,
including melissopalynology. Maurizio (1975) presented� a review of much of the
research, and Louveaux et al. (1970) outlined the methods commonly followed in
melissopalynology. Little attention appears to have been directed to the pollen
analysis of fresh nectar, although one would expect the pollen in nectar to reflect floral
source more accurately than the pollen in honey. If the pollen spectrum undergoes
little change during the conversion of nectar into huney, then pollen counts for nectar
and for the resultant Jloney should give similar results. However, this study seems to
cast doubt on this, and to suggest that, after the nectar has first been deposited in the
combs, its pollen spectrum may be somewhat altered: while it is being worked and
re-worked, and evaporated and capped, by the hive bees and-finally-extracted
from the combs.
Several possible explanations might be advanced as to why (unlike Lotus and
Melilotus) Tilia pollen was rather highly represented in the nectar but poorly
represented in the extracted honey. Tilia is seldom worked by honeybees for pollen
(Synge, 1947; Louveaux, 1959), but our observations show that considerable numbers
of Tilia pollen grains were present in the nectar deposited in the cells. Perhaps, as the
Tilia nectar is worked by the bees, its pollen is largely filtered out, without any chance
of its being replaced. The filtering process might also operate with Lotus and
Melilotus, but these pollens will be present in the hive on the bodies of the
pollen-gathering bees, and perhaps they could enter cells containing nectar and .
contribute to the pollen counts tnere. Pollen collected independently of nectar can
be transferred to honey stores in the hive, and this accounts for the presence in some
honey samples of pollen from plants without nectaries (Louveaux, 1958).
1. Seasonal counts of pollen grains in nectar of various taxa, as in Table 1 but showing mean
percentages for the colonies, and omitting taxa that did not contribute 10% or more of the pollen
count on any collection date.
Mean colony weight changes are shown above, on the same data scale.
FIG.
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 14:06 26 October 2017
248
'i'ilia pollen grains are larger than those of Melilotus and Lotus, but size alone would
not seem to explain a differential disappearance of some pollen grains from
nectar/honey. Rhus typhina has large pollen grains, but showed no relative loss in
number between nectar and honey. Maurizio (1949) found no evidence that the size of
the pollen grains affected the rate of filtering by the proventriculus. It seems more
likely that pollen loss is related to the period the nectar remains in the honey sac of the
bee, during foraging and within the hive.
Many bee research stations and honey packing plants rely on routine pollen analysis
of honey to provide an index of its floral source. Pollen analysis can often be of
considerable value in helping to determine the geographical source of a honey sample.
But a better understanding of the relationship between the pollen spectrum of nectar
and of honey could well throw light on the reasons for variations in the reliability of
pollen analysis of honey as an index to its floral origin.
References
ADAMS, R. J.; SMITH, M. V.; TowN:st.ND, G. F. (1979) Identification of honey sourcP~ by pollen
analysis of--ne~tai- from the hive. J. apic. Res. 18(4) : 292-297
BAILEY, L. (1952) The action of the provenfnculus of the werker honeybee. J. exp. Biol.
29(2) : 310-327
DEMIANOWICZ, Z.; JABLONSKI, B. (1959) [The pollen contents of three unifloral honeys from the point
of view of statistical analysis.) Pszczel. Zesz. nauk. 3(1) : 25-34 In Polish
FARRAR, C. L. (1953) Two-queen colony management. Bee Wid 34(10) : 189-194
LouvEAUX, J. (1958) Recherches sur l'origine dans le miel du pollen de plantes entomophiles
depourvues de nectaires. Annis Abeille 1(2) : 89-92
--(1959) Recherches sur Ia recolte du pollen par les abeilles (Apis mellifica L.). Annis Abeille
2(1) : 13-111
LoUVEAUX, J.; MAURIZIO, A.; VORWOHL, G. (1970) Methods of mellisopalynology. Bee Wid
51(3) : 125-138
.
.
MAURIZIO, A. (1949) Pollenanalytische Untersuchungen an Honig und Pollenhoschen. Beih. schweiz.
Bieneztg 2(18) : 320-455
-(1975) Microscopy of honey. pp. 240-257 from Honey: a comprehensive survey. Ed. E.
Crane. London : Heinemann in co-operation with the International Bee Research Association.
SYNGE, A. D. (1947) Pollen collection by honeybees (Apis mellifera). J. Anim. Ecol. 16 : 122-138
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