17 Amazing Honey Bee Facts – You can use it as a substitute for sugar, for certain medicinal properties, and seal food. What is it? Keep reading to discover some amazing facts about Honey.
17. How it’s made
Bees collect nectar, a sweet secretion from plants to attract insects, from various flowering plants and take it back to the hive. From there, the bees chew the nectar, removing most of the water, until it becomes the golden substance known as honey. The bees then use their wings to further evaporate the water from the honey.
And when they’re satisfied, they use wax they create to seal each honeycomb. Bees usually keep their hives very warm, approximately35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. That keeps the honey in a mostly liquid form which is ideal for harvesting.
16. Dancing Bees
Bees are able to communicate where food sources are by a process called the “waggle dance”. In the 1940s, Austrian biologist Karl Von Frisch was the first to devise an experiment to discover how to understand how bees found food. He set two feeding stations and noticed that bees from the first feeding station danced differently than the bees that came from the second feeding station.
The dance consists of two parts, the orientation of the dance, which allows the rest of the colony to know what angle to fly in relation to the sun, and the duration of the “waggle” which tells bees how far the food source is from the hive. A honey bee has an internal clock that is able to consistently know where the sun is located at all times, this helps them to accurately tell the hive which direction to fly. The duration of the “waggle” part of the dance will lengthen about 1 second per 1 km of distance to the new food source.
Amazing Honey Bee Facts
15. Honey Laundering
Producing honey takes time, and is not an easy process, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that some companies are cutting honey with artificial sweeteners and marketing it as “pure honey”. Some honey producing companies will produce batches of honey and remove the pollen profile by a process called “ultrafiltration”.
This means the honey’s origins can no longer be traced, and all of the healthy parts, like antioxidants, or natural antibiotic properties are gone. One way to tell if your honey is real honey is to check the label for high-fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners, or to look fora label that says “True Source”. in June 2016, Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Borders Protections seized 60 tons of fake honey as part of the largest food fraud investigation in US History.
14. Hallucinogenic Honey
The Himalayan Honey bee, the largest honeybee on Earth, creates honey made from Rhododendronplants surrounding the area. Red Honey, or mad honey, has an intoxicating effect created by grayanotoxin and is nearly $80 an lb. Though, you would never see this honey in the supermarket.
These bees make their nests on cliff sides hundreds of feet from the ground, and the only way to get to them is a precarious bamboo rope ladder. They can sting through most beekeeper suits, and thousands of bees can inhabit the area. Still interested in the “mad honey?” Then book a flight to the Himalayas, because the last honey hunter is retiring.
13. Honeycomb snack
Don’t want to wait for the honey to be processed and placed in a jar? A popular snack is eating the honeycomb in the raw. People have been eating raw honeycomb for centuries Some beekeepers and honey harvesters will break off a piece of the hive and snack on it right there.
Amazing Honey Bee Facts
The honeycomb is made of beeswax and has a texture similar to chewing gum. It gives the honey a slightly different pallet, allowing it to have its own unique flavor as opposed to mixing honey with other foods. Some chefs will add raw honeycomb to a meal as a garnish.
It’s been widely said that honey contains all of the substances necessary to sustain life. Honey contains sucrose, various minerals such as Calcium, Potassium, and Iron, and even Vitamins B and C. Mix that with water, which honey also contains, and these are the building blocks for a sustainable food source. Now, that doesn’t mean a human can live solely off of honey, but it’s definitely a fantastic addition to daily intake. According to some sources, a human can live about 2 months on nothing but honey.
11. Flight of the Bumblebee
Bees are phenomenal creatures and are known for their work. Phrases like “Busy as a bee” come to mind, and the phrase is fitting as the workload of a standard worker bee is astounding. In order to make 1 lb of honey, the whole hive must fly about 90,000 miles and visit over 2 million flowers.
One bee alone will visit 50 to 100 flowers in one trip and only produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in their life, which is only about122 to 152 days. Bonus fact: worker bees are all females. Male bees, or drones, protect the hive and mate with the queen, but all of the work making honey is done by the worker bees.
It’s no secret that honey is used in many beauty treatments and products, but the actual benefits of using honey as a natural beauty product might surprise you. Using honey in your hair as a conditioner keeps moisture locked in giving hair a soft feel and shiny look. The same effect can be said for a honey facial.
Amazing Honey Bee Facts
It moisturizes and locks in moisture to the face and has been said to have anti-aging properties. Beeswax is a popular ingredient in lip balms, great for preventing and soothing chapped lips, and hand creams. Beeswax has also been noted as an ingredient in eyeliner, mascara, mustache waxes, shampoo, and soap.
9. Energy booster
Because of honey’s natural carbohydrates, honey is a great source for a quick energy boost. Glucose is quickly absorbed giving an energy boost, while fructose absorbs slowly, giving long-lasting energy. Raw honey was given to Olympic runners in ancient Greece. Some modern runners will take raw honeycomb with them in a plastic bag as a snack, while some others will use a spoonful of honey in their morning tea to give them the spark they need to get through the day.
Honey has also been known to boost metabolism and is used in a few weight loss regiments. It’s said that the best time to eat honey, is on an empty stomach. This allows the enzymes to digest food faster and more efficiently, helping to reduce weight.
8. No expiration date.
Because of its ability to crystallize, honey is one of the only substances in the world that never spoils. In the 1800s, some archaeologists were on a site in Egypt when they discovered a tomb that was approximately 2000 years old, with a pot of honey in it. They remarked that the substance still tasted as though it was fresh. I feel bad for the assistant who had to take the leap of faith to try it.
7. A History of Honey
Honey has been around for thousands of years. There are even hieroglyphs depicting beekeepers in Cairo and cave paintings of honey harvesters dating back 8 thousand years. Monasteries in medieval Europe kept bees for their honey and beeswax was a key ingredient in candlemaking.
Beeswax candles burned brightly and left little to no ash, so they were paramount to the monks who illuminated by their light. Romans used honey to heal their wounds after battle and used it as an offering to the gods.
6. Sweet Currency
In medieval Europe, some countries, like Germany, loved honey so much that the lords of certain cities would place a honey tax on their subjects. It was a high-value commodity as it was used to sweeten their beer and create mead, a wine made with honey. Ancient Egypt considered honey so valuable was that it was used as a currency and the Pharaohs of Lower Egypt were named Bee King.
5. Medicinal Properties
Having trouble sleeping? Maybe you have a sore throat from a cold. Honey can help. There are multiple medicinal properties of honey that ancient cultures have been using since they discovered it. Honey has antibacterial properties and can be used as a salve for open wounds, or to soothe a sunburn. Its viscous nature can help coat sore throats and help cold pass faster.
Amazing Honey Bee Facts
Modern scientists have even found that some properties of honey can help improve brain function and memory. Some experts have even said that consuming local honey strains can help with allergies. Once the pollen is introduced into the system, it helps the body create antihistamines for said local pollen. It’s not a quick fix by any means, but it could help reduce allergies.
4. Honey Month
The month of September only has one major holiday, Labor Day, and a few other lesser-known holidays, like National Pepperoni Pizza Day on the 20th, or Talk Like a Pirate day the day before. But did you know the whole month of September has been dubbed “NationalHoney Month?” Starting in 1989, it’s purpose is to promote beekeeping, and honey as a natural sweetener. There’s even a National Honey Week in the UK which is usually the first week of May.
3. Different flowers, different flavors.
Depending on the flower the bee drinks from, greatly changes the color and flavor pallet of the honey it creates. Some examples are Eucalyptus – which gives the honey a minty flavor, Avocado – with a darker color and buttery taste, and Sage – light color and mild flavor. Sage honey is a fantastic additive to other packaged honey as it takes longer to granulate.
2. Honey in cooking
Honey is an excellent replacement for sugar in most recipes. The high glucose and fructose levels give honey the same relative sweetness of granulated sugar. There are thousands of recipes that include honey as an ingredient, including a true classic that’s been around for hundreds of years, Libum, or Roman Cheesecake.
Certain honey flavors can be used for different recipes, darker honey is better for BBQ sauce, and lighter honey, like Clover for general baking. Beeswax has even been used in the thin sheet as a substitute to cling wrap.
1. Not all honey is made by bees. And not all bees make honey.
There are only 4 known species of the honey bee, but there are also other insects that create honey, like the honey wasp. These insects, just like bees, gather their nectar from nearby flowers and use it to create their own honey within their hive. Some ant species have also been known to create their own honey and are considered a delicacy in some countries.
Are you a fan of honey? What do you put it on? Let us know in the comments below. – Amazing Honey Bee Facts