Free Honey and Pollen Analysis Offered to Canadian Beekeepers

A two-year research project entitled Floral identification of Canadian honey and pollen and development of a palynological reference booklet aims to develop a Canadian expertise in honey and pollen identification. 

Unlike European honeys, Canadian honeys are not differentiated by their specific floral sources. The term "mixed flowers" categorizes the majority of honey sold in the country. Therefore, consumers cannot buy honeys from particular floral origins. In addition, the Canadian market is flooded with imported honeys of lower quality. The price of these "mixed flowers" honeys imported is much lower than Canadian honey, causing significant competition to local products. Finally, because pollen can be used to feed bees or sold as dietary supplement for human consumption, the labelling of plant composition would add market-value.

The purpose of this two-year project is to develop a Canadian expertise in honey and pollen identification of floral sources. The project will enable Canadian beekeepers to send honey and pollen samples for free analysis (shipping fees will be beekeepers’ responsibility) for the duration of the project.

Ms. Mélissa Girard, a M.Sc. graduate who has extensive training in both beekeeping and palynology (the scientific study of spores and pollen) will be in charge of the project and will continue to offer the service at an affordable price through the CRSAD when the project is concluded.

Pollen Reference Collection

In addition to honey and pollen analyses, a reference collection of pollen grains from all melliferous plant species of Canada will be created. Out of this collection, a photograph booklet and identification key of the pollen grains will be produced and made available.

The reference collection will be created with the help of research centers and universities from all over Canada sending flowers to the CRSAD. However, the help of the beekeepers, although optional, would be greatly appreciated. Potential flowers targeted for mono-floral honeys to be analysed could be collected and sent with honey samples. This would help in completing the pollen reference collection.

Procedure if you decide to collect flowers

  • Collect a full envelope (standard letter size) of freshly opened flowers from a single species.
  • Seal the envelope.
  • On the envelope, write down the plant species or common name, date of collection and the environment (forest, agricultural field, roadside, etc.)
  • Let the envelope dry under the sun for 2-3 days (through a window)

Amount of honey or pollen to send for analysis

  • Honey: 50g
  • Pollen: 50-100g of pellets (approximately 1/2-1 cup)*

*The total amount of pollen pellets must be mixed gently in order to homogenize the content prior to taking the sample. The pollen must be dried or kept frozen until mailing.

The identification form (English/French) must be filled and sent with the sample(s).

Shipping address for sample(s): Centre de recherche – services-conseils a/s Mélissa Girard 120-A, chemin du Roy Deschambault, Québec Canada, G0A 1L0 1-418-656-2131 #8876

For more information, please contact Ms. Girard at the address and phone number above.