All About Honey Bees

honey bees on sunflower sampling nectar

Imagine a world without honey and honey bees. Imagine that scientists in this world discover that plant nectars have important curative properties that are enhanced when certain enzymes are added. Now imagine how much time and effort it would take for scientists to extract the nectar from plants: micropipettes, or ultra-thin straws, would be used to suck the nectar from flowers; or flowers could be harvested, placed in a centrifuge the nectar spun out, collected and filtered. The moisture content of the collected nectar would have to be reduced by heating or evaporation from 60% to 16% to prevent fermentation, followed by the addition of the necessary enzymes. This whole process would be so time and labor intensive that only a wealthy few could afford the finished product.

Add honeybees to this world. The honeybee’s tongue serves as a micropipette. Under the best conditions, a individual bee can make over 1,000 flower visits to collect a quarter of a teaspoon of nectar in a day. The vast number of these winged workers would not only collect significant quantities of nectar but would also lower the moisture content of the nectar to 16% by fanning their wings to evaporate the water from the nectar. These same bees would add the  necessary enzymes and produce the finished product…-an excerpt from Honey the Gourmet Medicine by Joe Traynor

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About the Author


Kara waxes about the bees, creates and tests recipes with her friend Joyce, and does her best to share what she’s learned and continues to learn about the bees, honey, ingredients we use and more.

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