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Thread: Pollen in Honey

  1. #1
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    Default Pollen in Honey

    How does pollen get into honey? Some folks think it gets into the honey during the extracting process. I always figured it got into the honey when the honey was made by the bees, some how. In some way I don't know.

    Does anyone know how pollen gets into the honey that I put into my jars?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    When the pollen is really flowing in, the inside of the hive must be a big cloud of pollen dust. I would think that some pollen getting into the uncapped honey would be unavoidable. Plus the worker bees must be coated in the stuff.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Go to the kitchen. Open the pantry. Every can has a label. Bees put some pollen right at the front of each cell of honey so they can remember what plant it came from. When you extract honey, that pollen comes out with the honey.

    Remember the worker bees are all females. That organization is very important to them. If you want to test that take the labels off the cans in your pantry and see if your female notices.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    THyanks jrb, I probably deserve that.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Sqk,
    You don't DESERVE anything. I just shouldn't read forums before 8am. I couldn't resist the temptation. I really need to get more sleep.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    I would think they ingest some pollen with the nectar or it's inadvertantly xferred by all the pollen stuck to the foragers.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    Go to the kitchen. Open the pantry. Every can has a label. Bees put some pollen right at the front of each cell of honey so they can remember what plant it came from. When you extract honey, that pollen comes out with the honey.

    Remember the worker bees are all females. That organization is very important to them. If you want to test that take the labels off the cans in your pantry and see if your female notices.


    +5 Internets for you!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    So nobody knows. Is that it? Then I guess if we remove all of the pollen from honey, what is left is honey. So, what is the big deal about selling honey w/out honey in it? It's still honey.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Uh oh... I'm about to make an "I think" statement... :taking cover:

    I don't think people associate pollen=honey. People see the golden goo in a bottle and their mind registers "honey." That's why HFCS blended & flavored honey can sell just as fast as "pure, raw, local, <insert buzzword here>" honey. Some care about "perceived quality" and some just care about flat price. Compare Syrup: "Pure" maple syrup is a lot more expensive than Mrs. Butterworth. There are many people that claim they can taste no difference between real maple syrup and artificial "maple-flavored" syrup. Others taste an extreme difference. Everyone has different taste buds, they buy what they like. Everyone has different levels of disposable income, they buy what they want with what they have.

    As for pollen in the honey, or it being removed in this case, well, I feel that falls under the "perceived quality" category. Many people buy higher-end "gourmet" products based on perceptions that they have formed over time. Some people want to learn, some people just to confirm what they believe. Take GNC or any health food store. They sell pure pollen in capsules.... WHY??!? Humans are not designed to digest pollen. We don't use it for nutrition. Bacteria don't digest it. But they sell gobs of it. Want a fun way to literally PEE away your money? Maintain a healthy diet and take a multi-vitamin. You get all the vitamins you need from your food, any excess is removed via waste. So.... EVERYTHING in that multi-vitamin is now going out the south end! People still buy those vitamins though.

    If I had to define scientifically what makes honey honey, it would come down to the per mass ratio of enzymes and bacteria, specific to genetics of enclosed organisms in a sucrose-based solution. But that's just the simplified scientist in me.

    edit - Mark, is your sig a dig at BASF commercials? If so, I LOVE it!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    BASF? What's that?

    No, just something I say when people bring up the idea that if we didn't have honeybees we wouldn't have fruits and vegetables.

    It's my understanding that Honey Packers aree working on setting their own Honey Standard of Identity(SOI). One which contains no pollen content to the honey. So, are the rest of us going to have to have something like "Pollen Not Removed" or "Pollen Added". And will we have to have an Ingredients List? Ingredients:Honey, Pollen. Like that?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Just wait until someone sneaks in a requirement that ALL pollens must be listed in scientific format... Ingredients: Honey, Aster (Eurybia divaricata) tree pollen, Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) pollen, etc...

    Miss one that they find on microscopic analysis? Confiscate all equipment, fines and "off to the hoosegow with ya!"

    BTW... BASF is one of those big corporations that only run advertisements during the Sunday political talk-shows and on CNBC... I think it was BASF, ADM, maybe one of the others that ran a commercial that was "we don't make the <insert product tagged,> we make it better." No matter, I like jokes that are only funny to me.

    edit thought: Even with a SoI, it wouldn't be hard to push public perception to the side of the pollen-included honey. Once people hear "Fact: the only way to positively identify the source of honey is from included pollen." Their "perceived quality" response will tell them "local is better" "buy American." Then they connect no pollen to "foreign-low-standards-of-quality," and buy the "pollen included honey" label, peer-pressure moves the "followers" crowd, and the whole operation backfires on the large producers.
    Last edited by TokerM; 08-10-2012 at 01:27 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    If it's right behind cappings, which is what it sounds like jrb is saying, I wonder how much is lost in capping removal, even if we drain and keep capping honey? Does the capping drained honey then have more pollen? That's the honey I keep for myself only because it's been exposed to air longer than my spun honey. I have a capping tank but I leave cappings for several days before putting it in a sealed pail.

    I personally thought that they put pollen in honey because its food, the nectar and pollen becomes honey.

    Interesting question.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Congrats jrb!! Another +5 in your account... Nobody spill the beans this is too funny!

    Edit: Bevy, pollen isn't needed to make honey, pollen is used to make bee bread and royal jelly. Honey is made from enzymes and bacteria bees add in the "honey sac," deposit the nectar in cells, then age & dehydrate.

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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    BASF? What's that?
    Come on sqkcrk I know you're old enough to have been around cassette tapes... They didn't just make them, they made them better....
    Honeydew

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Well, that's what I thought of, but wasn't sure so I asked. What do the letters stand for?

    I wish we still had cassette tapes. CDs don't seem to hold up like the tapes did. I wanted to listen to "The Chorus Line" yesterday, since Hamlisch died recently and the darn thing wouldn't run in the CD player in my truck.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    "CDs don't seem to hold up like the tapes did".

    What are CD's?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Certificates of Deposit. I just can't get them to play in my player. Ya know what I mean?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I would think they ingest some pollen with the nectar or it's inadvertantly xferred by all the pollen stuck to the foragers.
    I think so too. If you centrifuge a honey sample, you can identify the nectar source by the predominant pollen grains. So for instance, the pollen found in a sample of basswood honey will be mostly basswood.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    So is it correct to view pollen as a residue found in honey before removal by filtering?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Pollen in Honey

    I don't think "residue" is the right word, since some cells are purposely packed with pollen, perhaps that's the pollen. As such, it would be an additional ingredient... or "suspended solid"

    Residue would be wax and propolis, bee wings, legs. heads, etc...

    Edit: Cream isn't a residue in raw milk, it's a product that can be separated.

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