Honey Facts

Honey is one of the oldest substances on earth. Anciently it was used for weddings, funerals, births, fertility and was even used as an offering to the Gods from the Egyptians. It was prized for its many healing properties and is recognized for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Honey is a process that begins after a bee collects nectar (a sweet liquid produced by plants to attract female bees to assist in pollination) which contains sugars, water, amino acids, vitamins, proteins and enzymes. As a bee flies from flower to flower, the bee adds enzymes to break down the sucrose in the nectar into glucose and fructose. This partially processed nectar is then given to the worker bees in the hive who work the honey, adding more enzymes before they store it in a wax cell. For the nectar to transform into honey, ½ of the moisture must be removed. This is done by the heat of the hive and the fanning of the worker bees wings.

When the moisture content reaches less than 18%, the substance becomes more concentrated and chemical changes occur, resulting in pure honey. Each cell is then sealed with wax to prevent further moisture loss.

Fun Facts

  • A single honey bee worker produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • A colony can keep the internal temperature of the hive around 93° year-round.
  • Honey contains all the substances need to sustain life including water, vitamins, amino acids, proteins and enzymes.
  • The queen bee can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day and approximately 1 million in her lifetime.
  • A hive contains up to 60,000 bees during the summer months.
  • A bee flaps its’ wings 12,000 times per minute while flying and can fly up to 15 mph.

Sources:
One Drop at a Time by Melvin J. Ballard
The Book of Honey by Jenni Fleetwood
Beekeeping Basics, Penn University
The Honey Bee: Amazing Facts and Fleats, Illinois State University

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