Honey

Honey is a product of a really natural procedure, which takes advantage of...

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THE BEE PRODUCTS

Honey
Bees receive nectar from flowers or honey dew excretions...

more...

 

THE BEE PRODUCTS

Honey

Bees receive nectar from flowers or honey dew excretions, they gather it in their gizzard and carry it to the beehive. There, they share it to the workers and to the drones. By the time it is placed into the cells, it is passed many times from one bee to another. After they have placed it into the cells, it loses the extra moisture it contains, because of the heat and the flapping of the bees, and along with enzymes from the bodies of the bees it turns into honey.

At older times, after harvest time, bee-keepers used to cut the honeycombs into pieces and after that they put the pieces into baskets so that the honey would drain. In that way, the cells were destroyed and the bees had to rebuild a new hive the following year.

As a result, the bees were twice as tired and consumed a lot of honey for wax production. Nowadays, honey is taken off the honeycombs with the use of a honey extractor, thus, avoiding the destruction of cells. Those cells are used again, on the one hand for the queen to give birth and on the other hand as honey store rooms.

 

Kinds of honey

There are two great categories of honey, the flower honey and the honey dew (forest honey). The first one is produced by the flower nectar and the second one comes from substances of organisms that live on pine trees, fir-trees and other plants.

  1. The flower honey takes the name of the plant it comes from. So we have:

Thyme honey: It is considered the best of all kinds. It has light-coloured , luminous appearance.

Spring honey: It comes from sage, lavender and other spring wildflowers. It is fragrant and has great taste.

Heather honey: It is dark coloured of great nutritional value.

Orange-tree honey: It is light-coloured and has pleasant scent and taste.

Sunflower and cotton honey: It is light-coloured and is mainly produced in Thrace and Macedonia.

Chestnut tree honey: It comes from a mixture of honey dew excretions and nectar. It has slightly bitter taste.

  1. Honey dew excretions (forest honey)

Pine tree honey: It is dark coloured and it isn't particularly sweet. In Greece approximately 65% of the total production comes from pine trees. North Euboea and the island of Thasos are the most important areas of this quality.

Fir-tree honey: It is murky coloured but it is one of the best kinds of honey.

 

Nowadays, Greece holds the fourth place of honey production in Europe, after countries of multiple expanse and inhabitants. The annual production of honey in Greece is about 14.000 tons while in Spain it is about 33.000 tons, in France it's 25.000 tons and in Germany it's 20.000 tons. At universal level we hold the fifteenth place of honey production after countries such as China which produces about 260.000 tons of honey annually, actually more than the whole of the European Union.

Greece is one of the countries with the greatest number of bees in Europe. It is also one of the self-sufficient countries of the Community as far as honey is concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

POLLEN

 

Pollen is a product, bees gather from different flowers. It is a yellow powder that is extracted from stamens of flowers. It is collected by bees, especially during the end of winter and in spring.

The collectors gather pollen in the morning. In some kinds of flowers though, the collection is continued all day.

The workers have special organs for the collection of pollen such as comb, basket, brush. They spread the specks with saliva or nectar, they gather them with their legs and put them into the baskets, which they have at the outer part of the third pair of their legs. When they return to the hive, they place the pollen in the cells and they fill them up to the middle. The workers sometimes put honey on top of the pollen and cover the cells with wax.

Pollen is essential food for bees. In order to produce one kilo of honey bees need to consume 8,5 kilos of honey food.

 It is the richest natural food in protein, vitamins and other useful ingredients for people's nutrition. It protects the human organism from brain bleeding, it helps in mental functioning, it improves appetite and it is recommended for the following cases: Weakness of the organism, weight loss, intestinal disorders, psychopathy and nervous breakdown, memory loss, low metabolism.

 

Royal jelly   

 

The bee nurses, once having eaten honey and pollen, process their food in special glands which are in their pharynx and produce a jelly that looks like cream. This jelly is called royal jelly, because the queen is fed by it in her whole life and it offers her longevity. A very impressive fact is that, within 12 days from the beginning of her nutrition with royal jelly, the young queen gains 1.250 times more weight. The royal jelly has a creamy look, sourish taste and is white coloured.

It has significant therapeutic properties and contributes to the preservation of good health of the human organism.

More specifically: It sharpens the appetite, regulates the weight, helps digestion, fights off depression, contains antibiotic properties, endows health to the skin and tissues, clears the blood vessels, resulting in the good functioning of the heart.

About its proper use, a doctor's consultation should certainly have preceded.

 

Propolis

 

The resin is the raw material which the bee receives from nature, to make propolis. The bees use propolis to cover holes in the hive so that the internal temperature is kept and is not affected by the external. It also helps as to the prevention of access to undesirable visitors. In order that the hive is not influenced by the external temperature and the unwanted visitors not being able to enter, bees cover the inner sides of the hive and smooth them so that their wings are not damaged. Moreover, in case some big intruder (e.g. a mouse) enters the bee-hive, which the bees cannot drag out, they embalm it with propolis so that the health of the bees is protected. In this way the sterilization of the hive is achieved as well as its protection from diseases and viruses.

 

The wax  

 

It is a greasy substance which the wax glands, that are in the abdomen of young workers, excrete. Among the rings of the abdomen the wax comes out in the form of scales which the workers catch with their legs, take it to their mouth and mould it with their jaws. Wax is used for the preparation of cosmetics as well as varnish for furniture, floors and cars.

It is also used in medicine for the preparation of different ointments.

Hippocrates recommended wax against tonsillitis, as poultices on the throat and for cleansing of larynx and mouth inflammations.

In ancient Greece texts were written on plates covered with wax. Through a historical source we have known that Dimaratus, a former king of Sparta who had resorted to Darius's royal court, in order to notify the Spartans that Xerxes was about to invade Greece, sent them a message which he carved on a wooden plate covered by wax, so that the Persians wouldn't notice. He covered the letters again with wax and the plate looked white without rousing suspicious.

In the Byzantine era wax was used in the art of hagiography.

In modern times wax is used for the construction of wax models ("Potamianou" Museum in Crete, "Greek History Museum" Vreli in Epirus, "Madame Tussaud's Museum " in London).

 

The poison of the bee

 

The poison is a limpid liquid of distinctive scent and bitter taste. The bees have it in their dart, to defend themselves and confront their enemies. People use it for therapeutical purposes.

 

 
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