Sneaky Soybeans, Honeybees & Mislabeled Honey
Sneaky Soybeans, Honeybees & Mislabeled Honey

Since 1960s Soybean production worldwide has increased 13 times over, and now in the US alone over 90 million acres are dedicated just to soybeans. Honeybees are not commonly spotted foraging on flowering soybeans. However, during a 4-weeks’-long blooming season, under a thick canopy of soybean leaves, there are many small white or pink flowers and that’s where the honeybees forage for nectar and pollen hidden under a thick leafy canopy.

According to the recent 2022 Ohio State University study, for any apiary within a mile from soybean farm-fields, in summertime flowering soybeans will be a major and preferred source of nectar and pollen for honeybees. The annual honey yield potential for soybeans is up to 250lb/acre.

Midwestern states have the highest soybean production AND they also also currently account for most of the honey produced in the US: In 2020 just North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa together produced almost 1/2 of the nation’s honey. So a very sizable portion of the US-produced honey actually comes from flowering soybeans. But have you ever seen a honey jar on the store shelves properly labeled as “soybean honey”??

You don’t see soybean honey label anywhere because such honey is either unknowingly or deliberately mislabeled and the most common mislabeling is “clover honey”.

There’s a reason why no conventional apiary wants to disclose the honey they sell as “soybean honey” and would rather hide its real identity behind an innocent wild clover.

A proper “Soybean honey” label would have immediately shown that this honey came from conventional soybean farm-fields which would also mean that this honey still retains the following standard pesticides used in soybean farming: From USDA Surveys: Herbicides, the likes of Roundup or newer neonics are applied almost universally – in 98% of soybean farm-fields.

At you can refer to multiple studies how herbicides harm the bees. They don’t do any favors for human health either. Mislabeling soybean honey as “clover honey” definitely helps in marketing such honey but it also unfairly discredits good old wild clover.

At ForestBeehive apiary in Central Maine we are right next to a large wildlife sanctuary and we have no pesticides for miles. Instead of a standard manicured lawn, we have here quite a bit of wild clover.

Maintaining standard lawns requires considerable time, money, extensive watering, and the use of polluting human-engineered chemicals like herbicides.

We strive for the cleanest possible habitat for our bees. So we avoid any herbicides, and here we have pure wild clover that pollinators love. And our bees are also foraging now on long-flowering St John’s Wort, or Gold flower. Another favorite for our bees: flowering burdock and sumac.

Earlier major sources of nectar and pollen that our honeybees preferred starting from early Spring included: Red maples, dandelions, blackberries, milkweed.

In the Fall, it would be asters and goldenrods. Many conventional apiaries rely on mono-floral agricultural honey flows and harvest several times a year often artificially boosting their honey yield with supplemental sugar feedings.

Our honey is multi-floral naturally foraged. Here, we practice good old time benevolent beekeeping never stressing the bees to overproduce with supplemental sugar feedings and never exchanging their own honey for sugar.

Our local bee colonies are never subjected to any treatments with human-engineered chemicals or acids or oils. We only harvest surplus honey in the Fall, leaving enough honey for the bees to overwinter. When harvested in the Fall, the honey has fully matured as the bees’ enzymes had enough time to work their wonderful magic.