Honey has many beneficial qualities, and everybody knows it. However, not everybody wonders what honey consists of, how and why bees make it. Although young children are usually interested in such questions, there are some adults who are seriously interested in this issue. If you're one of them, our article is for you.
We all are familiar with honey and its healing qualities from the early childhood. Many mothers add honey to the milk and give this drink to their child for better sleep. In addition, milk with honey is good when you catch a cold. Some people like to get a honey massage when they have so-called "calcination."
Honey is valuable because the substances it contains help to restore the functioning of organs, which improves the immune system and restores lost health. The healing properties of honey do not depend on its physical state (liquid, thickened, solid). The crystallization is influenced by the region in which the honey is collected, the ambient temperature, and also what kind of flowers it was produced of. The taste, color, and smell don't affect the healing properties of honey. Before consuming honey, you should consider your individual features: if you tend to have allergies, then you have to consult a doctor.
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Chemical composition of honey
Honey is a syrupy substance with a sweet taste which honey bees produce from the nectar. In fact, honey is a saturated solution of carbohydrates in water. The content of monosaccharides in the honey varies from 68% to 73%. Honey is rich in vitamins of groups B (1, 2, 3, 6), N, C, K, E and important minerals like Sodium, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, etc.
How do bees make honey?
This is a tricky process, and it begins at the moment when bees fly out of the hive to collect pollen and nectar. The bees use their tongue to suck the nectar out of the flowers. The bees have special glands that produce the enzyme. When bees collect the nectar, it is mixed with the enzyme in their mouth. The enzymes produced by glands help to break down the sugar contained in the nectar. Thus, nectar gets filled with dextrins which contributing to the increase of its viscosity, its bactericidal properties increase, a certain structure forms and the excess moisture is removed (bees use it for their needs). This way appears the honey. This whole process takes from 8 to10 days; it involves tens of thousands of bees of different ages who fill the honey comb with honey. This process involves bees of all generations living in the hive.
Throughout the summer months, bees tirelessly fly from flower to flower and collect nectar. During this process, the flower pollen sticks to their feet, and bees carry it to the other flowers, fertilizing the seeds. In such way happens a mutually beneficial cooperation between bees and plants. Bees put the collected nectar and pollen into diamond-shaped hexagonal cells called honeycomb and tightly seal each honey cell with wax.
Why do bees make honey?
Honey is the main food for bees which they consume mainly in winter. A strong bee colony contains about 10 or 15 thousand bees, so you imagine how much food they need for successful wintering. Therefore, in the summer bees don't have a second to rest because they need to prepare a sufficient amount of honey to feed the brood and themselves.
During the winter, bees open the sealed honeycomb and eat the honey. Since honey is rich in calories, bees can get sufficient energy. It is well known that in winter bees maintain the hive at a constant temperature. To do this, the bees quickly rotate their wings and blow the air around the hive. Doing this, they quickly lose the energy that must be restored by the next portion of honey.
Thus, the answer to the question, why bees make honey — the obvious: in order to maintain a normal level of life, replenishing the reserves of energy whenever they exhausted from any work (defense against intruders, fanning the nectar to remove the excess moisture, cleaning, feeding larvae, etc.
Interesting facts about bees
- During a fire, the bees have a survival instinct, and they begin to stock up on honey not paying attention to strangers. That's why the use of smoke in beekeeping is very effective.
- Two hundred bees have to work during the day in order for one person to get one spoonful of honey.
- Bees secrete wax in order to set honey in the honeycomb.
- In the hive, there's always a certain number of bees that ensure high-quality ventilation to preserve the freshness of honey.
- To warn other bees about the presence of food source, the bee begins to perform a special dance using a circular flight around its axis.
- A bee needs about 8 million of the flower to produce one kilogram of finished honey. The average bee colony can raise 10 kg of honey per day.
- A bee can easily fly long distances and always find the way home.
- Each bee can find a source of food around a radius of two kilometers.
- In one day the bee can explore an area of over 12 hectares.
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