Why Does the Pollen Count and the True Nectar Value of Honey Matter?
Pollen markers are the only quantifiable method for determining the True Nectar Value (TNV) of honey. A sample of every batch of Killer Bees Honey is analyzed by Dr. Vaughn M. Bryant, Professor of Melissopalynology (the study of pollen in honey, and the pollen's source) at Texas A&M. Dr Bryant has written extensively on the subject and has codified the best methods to accurately count pollen markers and declare definitive nectar sources in a specific batch of honey.
How much nectar is in honey and what does that mean? According to the International Honey Commission, in order for a honey to warrant a "unifloral" honey label - meaning it can be named as coming from a specific nectar source like Orange Blossom Honey, or Sourwood Honey, at least 45% of its pollen should come from a single nectar source. There is no certifying body that enforces this standard, however. The North Carolina State Beekeepers Association sets the bar even higher by declaring that "Based on pollen analysis, at least 51% of the honey must come from the labeled floral source and must accurately represent the labeled floral source in color, odor, and flavor". The NCSBA does set labeling requirements and other rules in order for a beekeeper to become certified, and Killer Bees Honey is part of their Certified Honey Producer Program (CHPP). KillerBeesHoney.com is one of only nine certified sourwood producers in North Carolina.
What this means is that if the honey has not been tested or certified, it's anyone's guess as to what kind of honey it really is. The labels you see on honey jars in the grocery store generally have no relation to the contents inside, and many beekeepers just guess as to what type of honey their bees produce. A beekeeper may see an abundant field of clover teaming with bees and assume that the predominant honey is clover, but this often proves to be wrong. Our honey is produced according to the strict guidelines of the CHPP and tested every season.
You'll find if you read the reports here on our website that Killer Bees Honey Sourwood Honey consistently has a sourwood TNV in the mid-80% or higher. This kind of purity in a monofloral honey is difficult to achieve and we are very proud of the bees and the honey we produce.