In the middle of spring, a magical thing begins to happen outside. In addition to the greening of the earth, we notice a change in the local wildlife. Suddenly, squirrels and chipmunks are everywhere.
Birds are twittering away madly in the trees, worms are popping up right and left in the soil, and everywhere you look, life has returned. In particular, you’ll see bees buzzing around your garden, partaking of the rich pollen in your flowers and herbs.
The plants are in full bloom at this time of the spring, and the bees take full advantage, buzzing back and forth, carrying pollen from one blossom to another. I love this time of year when everything is waking up from winter.
And now you ask in your heart, “How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?” Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower, But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life, And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love, And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
Honeybees, which originated in Africa, have probably been around for 100 million years. So it’s no surprise that nearly every world culture uses honey.
Honey has been humans’ main sweetener for thousands of years. People didn’t really have sugar until intercontinental trade in the 18th century made cane sugar available. Back in the year 1702. if you wanted something to eat that was sweet what are your options?
Can you hit up Whole Foods for xylitol or agave? Nope. You don’t even have table sugar.
But if you’re lucky, and it’s the right time of year, you might get a little bit of honey.
So what are the Honey types and variations??
Comb honey is the purest, rawest form of honey. The beeswax is edible. Raw honey often contains wax, pollen, and other bee parts. Liquid honey is often pasteurized (which decreases the chance of crystallization), and the beeswax has been filtered out.
Chunk honey is liquid honey with chunks of honeycomb. Dry honey is dehydrated, and can be sold as powder, flakes, granules, etc. Usually contains additives.
Organic honey must be produced without certain pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. This is hard to control since bees can travel up to 2 miles from the hive to gather nectar and pollen.
Only nontoxic paints can be used on the beehives and no medications can be used on the bees. Fair trade honey: if you’re getting honey from small local farmers, this won’t be an issue.
But if you are buying honey from outside the U.S., ensuring Fair Trade is important so beekeepers get proper compensation.
Single flower species honey comes from nectar gathered from a single flower (e.g. orange blossom or clover honey). This honey must contain at least 51% of the specific type of nectar to be labeled as such.
Have you ever wondered how honey is made…………….
Honey is made from flower nectar. Bees collect nectar from flowering plants, pollinating the plants in the process as they wiggle around in the flower. This makes bees crucial links in the food chain.
For instances, 80% of cotton relies on honeybees. Many plants, such as squash, have specialized bees that only collect nectar from that particular plant.
A bee visits about 1,500 flowers to gather enough nectar to fill up her honey sac stomach (which holds about 70 mg of nectar – almost as much as a bees body weight), which is different than their digestive stomach.
Bees then carry the nectar back to the hive in their honey sac stomach. Here, a younger bee will suck the honey from the honey sac stomach, via the mouth (kind of like they are kissing).
The bees deposit (OK, regurgitate) the nectar into the waxen honeycomb, where invertase (aka sucrase) from salivary glands thickens it and splits sucrose into glucose and fructose, so that the bees are able to digest the honey when they consume it later.
Once honey is in the honeycomb, worker bees flap their wings to encourage water evaporation until the nectar fluid becomes syrupy. Then the bees cap the honeycomb with wax.
If honey is harvested before the water is evaporated, moisture content will be too high and naturally occurring yeast cells will ferment. This honey will be runny and taste like vinegar.
A single worker bee makes less than a teaspoon of honey in her 6-week lifetime (assuming she doesn’t sting anyone, as bees die after they sting). They work themselves to death, literally.
One colony can produce 44 pounds of honey during a typical summer. This requires more than 1 million foraging trips, and is roughly the amount necessary to sustain the colony during winter.
I think we should get ourselves some honey bee facts, after all so many healing and health-promoting opportunities for the humans begin with this little busy creature. As you read the following statements about honey’s great creator, you will be so intrigued just like me by this teensy-weensy fellow’s extraordinary abilities.
1. The honey bee has been around for 30 million years.
2. It is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
3. Honey bees are environmentally friendly and are vital as pollinators.
4. They are insects with a scientific name – Apis mellifera.
5. They have 6 legs, 2 eyes, and 2 wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.
6. The honeybee’s wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
7. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour, hence it would have to fly around 90,000 miles – three times around the globe – to make one pound of honey.
8. The average honey bee will actually make only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
9. It takes about 556 workers to gather 1 pound of honey from about 2 million flowers.
10. It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
11. A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
12. A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen.
13. Worker honey bees are female, live 6 to 8 weeks and do all the work.
14. The queen bee lives for about 2-3 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs per day.
15. The male honey bees are called drones, and they do no work at all, have no stinger, all they do is mating.
16. Each honey bee colony has a unique odor for members’ identification.
17. Only worker bees sting, and only if they feel threatened and they die once they sting. Queens have a stinger, but don’t leave the hive to help defend it.
18. It is estimated that 1100 honey bee stings are required to be fatal.
19. Honey bees communicate with one another by “dancing”.
20. During winter, honey bees feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.
My most memorable honey bee fact is…..Honey bees communicate with one another by “dancing”. And the most incredible to me is…… It is the only insect that produces edible food for man.
Bees produces honey out of the nectar they take from various types of flower. The honey is a sweet food with amazing healing properties.
It is sweeter and healthier than sugar and therefore is used to prepare a countless delicious dishes.
Honey is made of: water, carbohydrates, fructose, glucose, sucrose, proteins, amino acids, vitamins and various minerals. I have been doing some research on natural sugars, and I use honey for sweetener when I cook. I did not really realize all of the benefits of honey. Did you know that honey is an antioxidant?
Did you know that honey helps on sunburns, burns, and minor abrasions. Did you know that there are many kinds of honey, 300 kinds to be exact. Did you know honey is about 80% sugar, (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) the rest is water that contains trace minerals.
Did you know a colony of 50,000 bees will make 40-50lbs of honey during the summer months. Honey has been around for longer than the little squeezable plastic bear containers in our cupboards. Did you also know that one quart of honey is equal to three pounds.
Bees have been producing honey from flowering plants for ten to twenty million years.
Did you ever hear the phrase “busy as a bee”? Bees in a hive work repetitively the same task all day long. A bee who goes out foraging may fly as many as ten miles a day, gathering pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive, over and over again.
According to the National Honey Board, a bee may visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just one pound of honey. Thus, bees are associated with hard work and diligence. “Unique among all God’s creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species.”
“Did you know that if the bee leaves from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live?” ~ Albert Einstein A honey bee can sting. If you get stung, the bee’s stinger gets hooked into your skin, and while the bee tries to flee, part of its body tears off, causing it to die.
A bee sting leaves a tiny drop of venom under your skin which makes the skin turn red and swollen. Beekeepers always tell me that we don’t have to be afraid of bees; they only sting people or animals to protect themselves and their hive.
However, honestly, for some reason I still have a certain phobia of going to near a bee hive and would sometimes even imagine the bees swarming at me.
(Every family should keep a jar of elderberry honey syrup in their refrigerator. This simple, natural elixir is fabulous at preventing and treating illnesses and it couldn’t be easier to make or more natural.)
- 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries (*stems removed)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw local honey
- Bring the berries and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
- Mash the berries, strain and add the honey to the liquid. Mix well. Discard or compost the mashed berries.
- Pour the elderberry syrup into a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. Keeps two to three months.
A tablespoon per day will keep your immune system strong. Take 2 to 3 tablespoons per day to fight flu or other sickness. For children, a teaspoon a day will keep their immune systems strong and this can be increased to 3 teaspoons a day during times of illness.
What To Do ?
While Being Stung by Honey Bee
We should all have some honey in our Food Storage……So how much honey should a person store? It is recommended to store 60 pounds total of sugars/sweeteners per year per adult. Our calculator uses the common recommendation of just 3 pounds of honey per person. However, we both use honey in our basic bread recipes so we have chosen to store a little bit more than that.
Some people feel that for health reasons they would rather store more honey than refined white sugar so obviously they would also up their honey storage amount. As you start using your food storage more and baking a lot from scratch you may find that you prefer to cook with honey and thus want to up your own storage amount as well.
How do I replace honey for sugar in a recipe?
To bake with Honey:
Use pure raw honey for up to half of the sugar in the recipe. For each cup of honey used: reduce the liquid by 1/2 cup Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees.
To cook with honey:
For sauces, marinades, and salad dressings substitute pure honey for up to half the sugar in the recipe.
1 cup of sugar =1/3 to 1/2 cup honey . (If it is a stronger honey you would use 1/3 cup. If it is milder use 1/2 cup)
Some More Bee Information for Kids…… Here are some quick, fun facts about bees which not only kids but grown ups would like to get abreast with.
- These insects have 7 – 9 recognized families and these consist of about 20,000 different species.
- The queen bee, the drone bee and the worker bee are the members of the bee colony. The workers are all females and they do the cleaning, collect pollen and nectar as food, and, look after the offspring. Drones are males and their job is to mate with the queen, whose job is to only lay eggs.
- If you have ever been stung by a bee then it must have been a female. A female bee is the only one who can lay a sting. The venom is stored in the sac which is attached to its stinger.
- The reason why only female bees can sting is due to the stinger which is a part of their reproductive design.
- Bees are red-color-blind. I mean these insects are able to view any color except red. Their ability to view other colors and sense of smell helps them to locate the flowers to collect pollen from it.
- Some species of bees, like the honeybees die after they sting a mammal. As mentioned, the stinger is a part of the reproductive design and it is attached to the abdomen. Moreover, the stinger happens to be barbed. So, when bee stings and tries to fly away, it mortally tears away a part of abdomen and dies.
- One interesting fact to tell you in this article of all about bees, is that not all species are stingers. For instance, meliponinae, although have stingers are known to be sting-less. This is due to their highly reduced stingers which are not good enough for defense.
- Communication between honey bees is done through dancing.
- Do you know where do the distinctive ‘buzz’ comes from. It’s all hard work of the insects to stroke their wings with a speed of 200 beats per second!
- In a single trip to collect nectar and pollen, a bee visits about 50 – 100 flowers.
- During summers, the queen bee can lay up to 2500 eggs per day so as to help the colony to gain the maximum strength. I am sure you may want to know how do bees make honey. Well, it’s a complex process where the bee mixes the collected nectar with the enzyme in its mouth and the final product is honey!
Honey is a wonderful ingredients for all kinds of things. Look for products with Manuka honey in them. They contain health-giving properties for skin.
It is important to know that honey is a miraculous food that never expires. It is said that the archeologists have found honey jars in tombs having more than 2000 years of age. When they opened the jars and tasted the honey within, this was still sweet and flavored.
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