9 Unusual Facts for National Honey Month

September is National Honey Month. That makes it a great time to learn more about honey and the essential role it plays in our diets, health and environment. For example:

1) Honey is essentially bee vomit.†Bees use their long, tube-like tongues to suck nectar out of flowers. When they return to their hive, other bees suck the honey from the honeybees’ stomachs and “chew” it for about half an hour, using enzymes to break down the complex sugar in the nectar into a form that is easier for the bees to digest and less likely to “rot” while it is stored in the hive. The bees then regurgitate the nectar into their honeycomb and flap their wings to evaporate water that might still be in the chewed-up nectar.†VoilŠ.

2) Bees live on their own honey.† Bees eat the honey they make, especially in colder months when less flower nectar is available. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey. However, the queen bee does not eat honey directly. Throughout her life, she eats something called “Royal Jelly,” which is what actually turns ordinary bees into queens. It consists of chewed pollen plus a chemical secreted by a gland in the head of the nursing bee.

3) There are more than 300 varietals of honey in the U.S. alone. Each one has a distinct flavor profile and color, based on the floral source where the bees collected the nectar. Orange Blossom, Wildflower, Clover, Dandelion and Gallberry are some honeys you might find when you shop.

4) Light-colored honey tastes milder than dark-colored honey.†Also, the honey will take on certain tastes depending on what flowers the bees that have produced it have eaten.

5) To make just one pound of honey, a honeybee needs to tap 2 million flowers.†They also need to drink about a quart of water every day, and more during hot summer months.

5) Honey can kill babies. This is not an exaggeration. Spores of botulism bacteria exist in dust and soil and can be picked from bees as they’re feeding on pollen. Infants have a very undeveloped immune system that may not protect them from developing botulism if they’re exposed. †The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cautions against feeding honey to children unless they are at least one-year-old.

6) You can produce your own honey.†To do so, you’ll have to become a beekeeper! That means you’ll have to build or buy beehives and bees, make sure they’ll have access to enough food (nectar) and water, and then figure out how to harvest the honey. Here’s a good primer to help you get started. Depending on the size and health of your hives, you could produce several jars or more of honey every year, once your hives get established.

7) You can use honey to treat ulcers and wounds, but not burns. In Haiti, people apply regular honey to help heal sores, though evidently a more effective product is called Medihoney, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and made in New Zealand from Manuka honey. You don’t want to slab honey on a festering wound, but if you have a little sore and want to see if honey makes a difference, it probably won’t hurt you (just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get worse during your treatment).

8) Honey is an effective way to soothe a sore throat and quell a cough. A teaspoon of honey helps coat the throat and reduce irritation. I drink honey dissolved in hot lemon water a few times a day as soon as I feel a cold coming on, and it seems to help things from getting worse.

9) Honey is not better than sugar for dieters or people with diabetes. In fact, according to WebMd, a tablespoon of honey has more carbohydrates and calories than either white or brown sugar. It is a non-fat food, but high in sugar. In fact, it is this high sugar content that leads honey to crystallize over time. If your honey has crystallized, simply fill a saucepan with enough water to reach the level of honey in your honey jar and heat the water to around 104 degrees Fahrenheit.†Turn the heat off, take the lid off the honey jar and immerse the jar in the hot water. After 20 or 30 minutes, the heat should dissolve the crystals and the honey will become liquid again. Stir occasionally or reheat the water if needed.

10) Most micro-organisms do not grow in honey because it contains so little water. That makes it an ideal food to store, even after it’s been opened.

Related
10 Health Benefits of Honey
What Would Happen if Honey Bees Disappeared?
14 Ways Honey Can Heal

 

189 comments

Mike R
Mike R24 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R24 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R24 days ago

Thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Olivia H
Olivia Habout a month ago

Thank you

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