Context of the study
Working with beekeepers, naturalist associations and businesses, we have carried out a feasibility study to determine the value and limitations of the environmental DNA method when it comes to studying the floristic composition of honey samples produced by honey bees (Apis mellifera).
By gathering pollen from dozens, if not hundreds, of species of flowers, bees act as DNA collectors, concentrating it in balls of pollen and honey. This technique is particularly useful if you want to establish an inventory of melliferous plants in the vicinity of hives and so assess the ecological state of the surrounding environment, or if you are trying to determine the geographical regions of origin of different honeys.
Sampling and laboratory analysis
Results and conclusion
Lastly, the detection of indicator species means that we can infer the types of habitats located near the hives. These data give us an overview of the quality of the environment, as well as allowing us to determine the geographical areas from which the honey comes.
To go one step further, we then compare the results obtained from the honey samples with those generated by the analysis of pollen grains collected at the entrance of Apis mellifera hives or directly collected from honey bees and wild bees.