Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.
Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation, and store it as a primary food source in wax honey combs inside the beehive. Beekeeping practices encourage overproduction of honey so the excess can be taken from the colony.
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharide’s, fructose and glucose, and , and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar It has attractive chemical properties for baking, and a distinctive flavor that leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its low water activity of 0.6. However, honey sometimes contains dormant endospores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous to infants, as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in the infant’s immature intestinal tract, leading to illness and even death
Honey has a long history of human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey because bees carry an electrostatic charge and can attract other particles; the same techniques of melissopalynology can be used in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust or particulate pollution.
Honey is produced by bees as a food source. In cold weather or when fresh food sources are scarce, bees use their stored honey as their source of energy. By contriving for bee swarms to nest in artificial hives, people have been able to semi domesticate the insects, and harvest excess honey. In the hive (or in a wild nest), there are three types of bees in a hive:
- a single female queen bee
- a seasonally variable number of male drone bees to fertilize new queens
- some 20,000 to 40,000 female worker bees
The worker bees raise larvae and collect the nectar that will become honey in the hive. Leaving the hive, they collect sugar-rich flower nectar and return.
In the hive, the bees use their “honey stomachs” to ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. The bees work together as a group with the regurgitation and digestion until the product reaches a desired quality. It is then stored in honey comb cells. After the final regurgitation, the honeycomb is left unsealed. However, the nectar is still high in both water content and natural yeasts, which, unchecked, would cause the sugars in the …