Sweet Science

A local lab finds out what bees are having for breakfast.




We spoon honey into our tea and spread it on our toast—but what did the bees who made it have for breakfast? Busy worker bees can visit up to 100 flowers during a single foraging expedition, and we wingless types can follow their flight paths with HoneyDNA, a brand-new offering from Boston-based beekeeping biz The Best Bees Company. “We explained it as the world’s first edible genome,” says founder and chief scientific officer Noah Wilson-Rich, who first demonstrated HoneyDNA at the MIT Media Lab this spring. Now anyone can send his South End lab a honey sample; the team analyzes the DNA of the pollen traces within, and customers receive an infographic breakdown of the plant species the bees feasted on, accompanied by hand-painted illustrations by resident artist Paige Mulhern. “These results help inform the general public about what we can do to help provide food for these vitally important creatures,” Wilson-Rich explains. Plus, proceeds from the $150 service support Best Bees’ nonprofit arm, the Urban Beekeeping Laboratory and Bee Sanctuary, which conducts research on bee health and brings hives to sites like schools, community gardens and vacant lots. Get a taste of the action at Cambridge restaurant EVOO, where Wilson-Rich will host a Liquid Gold launch event for HoneyDNA—complete with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails inspired by the bee biomes—on Sept. 27 as part of HUBweek.


Bonus Buzz!

Just in time for National Honey Month, Salem chocolate maker Harbor Sweets is releasing its new Gather chocolates, a set of six confections featuring local wildflower honey and a snazzy honeycomb box designed by South Ender Jim Hood. The sweetest part: A portion of proceeds benefits the Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the health and habitats of tiny creatures that have an outsized impact on our ecosystems and food supply. Find a box starting in September at Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill and Back Bay and harborsweets.com.

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