Fifty honey samples (both squeezed and extracted) collected from the eastern Himalayan part of West Bengal, India were analyzed for their pollen content. Among these honey samples, forty-eight were from Apis cerana indica and two from Apis florea. Eighteen honey samples were identified as unifloral, of which 17 were from Apis cerana indica. The predominant pollen types were Rosa sp., Ageratum conyzoides, Rubus ellipticus, Prunus sp., Millettia pulchra, Trifolium repens, Primula sp., Schima wallichii, Fragaria sp., Potentilla sp. (during summer), Ageratum conyzoides, Schima wallichii, Sedum multicaule, (during autumn) and Aristolochia sp., Rosa sp. (during winter). In one sample from Apis florea, Trifolium repens predominated (during summer). Three honey flow periods (HFP-I-III) are recognized in this area. HFP-I (March–June) is the principal flow period while HFP-II (July–October) and HFP-III (November–February) are secondary. On the basis of Absolute Pollen Count (APC), Group I, Group II and Group III honeys are recognized from this region. K-means clustering of the honey samples from summer, autumn and winter seasons were carried out, establishing that variation in honey samples is possibly due to different pollen content and not controlled by their season of production. The study also explores the suitability for establishing commercial bee keeping in the remote areas of the eastern Himalayan part of West Bengal, India.
honey pollen analysis, Apis cerana indica, Apis florea, sub Himalayan West Bengal, India, beekeeping