Re: pollen analysis/melissopalynology
Throughout the past year I did bee-pollen microscopy, just for fun. I looked about 3500 samples, found ~80 different kinds, and named ~60 of them, some to the species and others only to the genus or to the family names. Pollen microscopy was especially interesting when neither one of cherry/plum, maple, blackberry or ivy (the plants that give the major pollen flows here) was in full bloom, because that was when I found unexpected. I found several flowers that I overlooked, only after the bees brought their pollens. Some bee-pollens were very unique in shapes and/or colors, yet could not be named, even after I hand-collected pollen from ~500 different flowers in the neighborhood to compare with.
I pick pollen from a dead forager's hind legs or from a corrugated plastic board inserted into the hive bottom (or under the screen bottom) onto a slide glass (bought at Amazon.com), put a drop of glycerin (bought at a drugstore), press a coverglass onto, and immediately take pictures. After that I wash the glasses with warm water and reuse. No fixing or staining. Because pollen sizes are pretty much in the range of 10 - 100 micrometers, I use one of the cheapest digital microscopes with fixed 800x optical magnification (about US $90 at Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Inve.../dp/B072N96D24) connected to my laptop. It takes some practice to get good pictures but you probably do not need a special training to do this. When it comes to identifying your bee-pollen, however, you have to compare it with flower pollen pictures that were prepared exactly in the same manner. The majority found on the web (such as ‘pollenwiki’ https://pollen.tstebler.ch/MediaWiki...le=Pollenatlas) use some fixing/staining reagents. Therefore, you should either prepare your bee-pollen using their method or prepare your reference flower pollen samples yourself (I chose to do the latter).
This link shows some of my bee pollen pictures, 800x. https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nz2FEUwXMVohtq3W6
1. hazelnut, heath, size standard
2. crocus, cherry/plum, hyacinth
3. dandelion, red/silver maple, size standard
4. camellia, willow, rhododendron
5. holly, red osier dogwood, size standard
6. horse chestnut, tulip poplar, poppy
7. birdsfoot trefoil, southern magnolia, linden
Zone 8, elevation 70 ft, near the north end of Lake Washington