Is Honey Healthy?
Honey should never be given to children under the age of 1 year due to the risk of botulism.
Honey is being studied for properties that appear to treat burns, foot sores in people with diabetes, dry eyes, wounds, mouth and gum sores, and rosacea. Researchers believe that honey’s healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects as well as its ability to nourish surrounding tissue. Honey is commonly used to treat seasonal allergies but contains pollen, making it a possible cause of allergic reactions.
Honey appears to be at least as effective in children as the cough suppressant dextromethorphan in typical over-the-counter doses.
Good quality honey is high in bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants with darker honey even higher in these compounds than lighter honey. Antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancers.
Honey may lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol and inflammation while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. Regular consumption may reduce triglycerides, especially when honey replaces regular sugar.
Studies show modest reductions in blood pressure from consuming honey
There are 20,000 species of bees
7 species of honey bees
Domestic Honey Bee: Apis mellifera
Italian and Carniolan subspecies are the most commonly cultivated honey bees
Honey bees are not native to the United States. As across much of the world, they were introduced by colonists
Bees do not hibernate. They keep their home between 89-95 degrees year around. In the summer, workers fan their wings to cool the colony and, in the winter,, they huddle in the center and shiver to produce heat with the bees rotating throughout the mass to share in the warmth.
A beehive contains 3 types of bees:
Worker bees choose certain eggs to feed only royal jelly, a potent secretion that helps feed the colony. When a hive needs a new queen, the first to hatch will sting and kill any other competitors before they hatch. She then mates, lays eggs and is cared for by workers. With a reproductive life of three to four years, she does not mate with bees from her own hive of perhaps 60,000 members, ensuring varied genetics that increase the strength of the hive.
Males from unfertilized eggs that live 5-6 weeks and die after mating. Any remaining drones die in the fall after they are kicked out of the hive to help preserve enough food to keep the hive alive through winter.
Sterile females that perform all duties of the hive such as feeding the queen, the drones, and their young, producing wax which is used to build and repair the hive, cleaning, guarding and scouting, receiving pollen and nectar which other workers make into honey, storing honey and pollen, and toward the end of their lives, working as foragers.
The Good Stuff
A hive may gather pollen and nectar from up to 500 million flowers in a year.
A hive can produce 2-5 pounds of honey a day, using about 8 gallons of water to make 1 gallon honey.
9 pounds of honey is used to produce a pound of beeswax.