Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance produced by bees and some related insects. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretions of other insects (such as honeydew), by regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation. Bees store honey in wax structures called a honeycomb. The variety of honey produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the best-known, due to its worldwide commercial production and human consumption. Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees, a practice known as beekeeping or apiculture.
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has about the same relative sweetness as sucrose (granulated sugar). It has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavor when used as a sweetener. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey, so sealed honey does not spoil, even after thousands of years.
Honey is produced by bees collecting nectar for use as sugars consumed to support metabolism of muscle activity during foraging or to be stored as a long-term food supply. During foraging, bees access part of the nectar collected to support metabolic activity of flight muscles, with the majority of collected nectar destined for regurgitation, digestion, and storage as honey. In cold weather or when other food sources are scarce, adult and larval bees use stored honey as food.
Leaving the hive, a foraging bee collects sugar-rich flower nectar, sucking it through its proboscis and placing it in its proventriculus (honey stomach or crop), which lies just dorsal to its food stomach. The honey stomach holds about 40 mg of nectar, or roughly 50% of the bee's unloaded weight, which can require over a thousand flowers and more than an hour to fill. The nectar generally begins with a water content of 70 to 80%. Salivary enzymes and proteins from the bee's hypopharyngeal gland are added to the nectar to begin breaking down the sugars, raising the water content slightly. The forager bees then return to the hive, where they regurgitate and transfer nectar to the hive bees. The hive bees then use their honey stomachs to ingest and regurgitate the nectar, forming bubbles between their mandibles, repeatedly until it is partially digested. The bubbles create a large surface area per volume and a portion of the water is removed through evaporation. Bee digestive enzymes hydrolyze sucrose to a mixture of glucose and fructose, and break down other starches and proteins, increasing the acidity.
The bees work together as a group with the regurgitation and digestion for as long as 20 minutes, passing the nectar from one bee to the next, until the product reaches the honeycombs in storage quality. It is then placed in honeycomb cells and left unsealed while still high in water content (about 50 to 70%) and natural yeasts which, unchecked, would cause the sugars in the newly formed honey to ferment. Bees are some of the few insects that can generate large amounts of body heat, thus the hive bees constantly regulate the hive temperature, either heating with their bodies or cooling with water evaporation, to maintain a fairly constant temperature in the honey-storage areas around 35 °C (95 °F). The process continues as hive bees flutter their wings constantly to circulate air and evaporate water from the honey to a content around 18%, raising the sugar concentration beyond the saturation point and preventing fermentation. The bees then cap the cells with wax to seal them. As removed from the hive by a beekeeper, honey has a long shelf life and will not ferment if properly sealed.
Another source of honey is from a number of wasp species, such as Brachygastra lecheguana and Brachygastra mellifica, which are found in South and Central America. These species are known to feed on nectar and produce honey.
Some wasps, such as Polistes versicolor, even consume honey themselves, alternating between feeding on pollen in the middle of their lifecycles and feeding on honey, which can better provide for their energy needs.
Honey is collected from wild bee colonies or from domesticated beehives. On average, a hive will produce about 65 pounds (29 kg) of honey per year. Wild bee nests are sometimes located by following a honeyguide bird.
To safely collect honey from a hive, beekeepers typically pacify the bees using a bee smoker. The smoke triggers a feeding instinct (an attempt to save the resources of the hive from a possible fire), making them less aggressive and the smoke obscures the pheromones the bees use to communicate. The honeycomb is removed from the hive and the honey may be extracted from that, either by crushing or by using a honey extractor. The honey is then usually filtered to remove beeswax and other debris.
Before the invention of removable frames, bee colonies were often sacrificed to conduct the harvest. The harvester would take all the available honey and replace the entire colony the next spring. Since the invention of removable frames, the principles of husbandry led most beekeepers to ensure that their bees have enough stores to survive the winter, either by leaving some honey in the beehive or by providing the colony with a honey substitute such as sugar water or crystalline sugar (often in the form of a "candyboard"). The amount of food necessary to survive the winter depends on the variety of bees and on the length and severity of local winters.
Many species other than humans are attracted to wild or domestic sources of honey.
Because of its composition and chemical properties, honey is suitable for long-term storage, and is easily assimilated even after long preservation. Honey, and objects immersed in honey, have been preserved for centuries. The key to preservation is limiting access to humidity. In its cured state, honey has a sufficiently high sugar content to inhibit fermentation. If exposed to moist air, its hydrophilic properties pull moisture into the honey, eventually diluting it to the point that fermentation can begin.
Long shelf life of honey is attributed to an enzyme found in the stomach of bees. The bees mix glucose oxidase with expelled nectar they previously consumed, which then creates two byproducts: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide, partially responsible for honey's acidity and ability to suppress bacterial growth.
Adulteration of honey is the addition of other sugars, syrups, or compounds into honey to change its flavor or viscosity, make it cheaper to produce, or increase the fructose content to stave off crystallization. According to the Codex Alimentarius of the United Nations, any product labeled as honey or pure honey must be a wholly natural product, although different nations have their own laws concerning labeling. Adulteration of honey is sometimes used as a method of deception when buyers are led to believe that the honey is pure. The practice was common dating back to ancient times, when honey was sometimes blended with plant syrups such as maple, birch, or sorghum and sold to unsuspecting customers. Sometimes, crystallized honey was mixed with flour or other fillers, hiding the adulteration from buyers until the honey was liquefied. In modern times, the most common adulteration ingredient became clear, almost-flavorless corn syrup, which when mixed with honey, is often very difficult to distinguish from unadulterated honey.
Isotope ratio mass spectrometry can be used to detect addition of corn syrup and cane sugar by the carbon isotopic signature. Addition of sugars originating from corn or sugar cane (C4 plants, unlike the plants used by bees, and also sugar beet, which are predominantly C3 plants) skews the isotopic ratio of sugars present in honey, but does not influence the isotopic ratio of proteins. In an unadulterated honey, the carbon isotopic ratios of sugars and proteins should match. Levels as low as 7% of addition can be detected.
In the United States, according to the National Honey Board (an organization supervised by the United States Department of Agriculture), "honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance... this includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners".
|Production of natural honey – 2017|
Over its history as a food, the main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, desserts, such as mel i mató, as a spread on bread, as an addition to various beverages, such as tea, and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages. Honey barbecue and honey mustard are other common flavors used in sauces.
Possibly the world's oldest fermented beverage dating to 9,000 years ago, mead ("honey wine") is the alcoholic product made by adding yeast to the honey–water must, followed by weeks or months of fermentation. In modern mead production, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is commonly used.
Primary fermentation usually takes 28 to 56 days, after which the must is placed in a secondary fermentation vessel for 6 to 9 months of aging. Durations of primary and secondary fermentation producing satisfactory mead may vary considerably according to numerous factors, such as floral origin of the honey and its natural sugar and microorganism contents, must water percentage, pH, additives used, and strain of yeast, among others. Although supplementation of the must with nitrogen, salt, or vitamins has been tested to improve mead qualities, no evidence suggests that adding nutrients reduced fermentation time or improved quality. Cell immobilization methods, however, proved effective for enhancing mead quality.
Mead varieties include drinks called metheglin (with spices or herbs), melomel (with fruit juices, such as grape, specifically called pyment), hippocras (with cinnamon), and sack mead (high concentration of honey), many of which have been developed as commercial products numbering in the hundreds in the United States as of 2014. Honey is also used to make mead beer, called "braggot".
The physical properties of honey vary, depending on water content, the type of flora used to produce it (pasturage), temperature, and the proportion of the specific sugars it contains. Fresh honey is a supersaturated liquid, containing more sugar than the water can typically dissolve at ambient temperatures. At room temperature, honey is a supercooled liquid, in which the glucose will precipitate into solid granules. This forms a semisolid solution of precipitated glucose crystals in a solution of fructose and other ingredients.
The melting point of crystallized honey is between 40 and 50 °C (104 and 122 °F), depending on its composition. Below this temperature, honey can be either in a metastable state, meaning that it will not crystallize until a seed crystal is added, or, more often, it is in a "labile" state, being saturated with enough sugars to crystallize spontaneously. The rate of crystallization is affected by many factors, but the primary factor is the ratio of the main sugars: fructose to glucose. Honeys that are supersaturated with a very high percentage of glucose, such as brassica honey, crystallize almost immediately after harvesting, while honeys with a low percentage of glucose, such as chestnut or tupelo honey, do not crystallize. Some types of honey may produce very large but few crystals, while others produce many small crystals.
Crystallization is also affected by water content, because a high percentage of water inhibits crystallization, as does a high dextrin content. Temperature also affects the rate of crystallization, with the fastest growth occurring between 13 and 17 °C (55 and 63 °F). Crystal nuclei (seeds) tend to form more readily if the honey is disturbed, by stirring, shaking, or agitating, rather than if left at rest. However, the nucleation of microscopic seed-crystals is greatest between 5 and 8 °C (41 and 46 °F). Therefore, larger but fewer crystals tend to form at higher temperatures, while smaller but more-numerous crystals usually form at lower temperatures. Below 5°C, the honey will not crystallize, thus the original texture and flavor can be preserved indefinitely.
Since honey normally exists below its melting point, it is a supercooled liquid. At very low temperatures, honey does not freeze solid. Instead, as the temperatures become lower, the viscosity of honey increases. Like most viscous liquids, the honey becomes thick and sluggish with decreasing temperature. At −20 °C (−4 °F), honey may appear or even feel solid, but it continues to flow at very low rates. Honey has a glass transition between −42 and −51 °C (−44 and −60 °F). Below this temperature, honey enters a glassy state and becomes an amorphous solid (noncrystalline).
The viscosity of honey is affected greatly by both temperature and water content. The higher the water percentage, the more easily honey flows. Above its melting point, however, water has little effect on viscosity. Aside from water content, the composition of honey also has little effect on viscosity, with the exception of a few types. At 25 °C (77 °F), honey with 14% water content generally has a viscosity around 400 poise, while a honey containing 20% water has a viscosity around 20 poise. Viscosity increase due to cooling occurs very slowly at first. A honey containing 16% water, at 70 °C (158 °F), has a viscosity around 2 poise, while at 30 °C (86 °F), the viscosity is around 70 poise. As cooling progresses, honey becomes more viscous at an increasingly rapid rate, reaching 600 poise around 14 °C (57 °F). However, while honey is very viscous, it has rather low surface tension of 50--60 mJ/m2, thus the wettability of honey is on the same order as water, glycerin, or most other liquids. The high viscosity and wettability of honey lead to the phenomenon of stickiness, which is a time-dependent process in supercooled liquids between the glass-transition temperature (Tg) and the crystalline-melting temperature.
Most types of honey are Newtonian liquids, but a few types have non-Newtonian viscous properties. Honeys from heather or manuka display thixotropic properties. These types of honey enter a gel-like state when motionless, but then liquify when stirred.
Because honey contains electrolytes, in the form of acids and minerals, it exhibits varying degrees of electrical conductivity. Measurements of the electrical conductivity are used to determine the quality of honey in terms of ash content.
The effect honey has on light is useful for determining the type and quality. Variations in its water content alter its refractive index. Water content can easily be measured with a refractometer. Typically, the refractive index for honey ranges from 1.504 at 13% water content to 1.474 at 25%. Honey also has an effect on polarized light, in that it rotates the polarization plane. The fructose gives a negative rotation, while the glucose gives a positive one. The overall rotation can be used to measure the ratio of the mixture. Honey may vary in color between pale yellow and dark brown, but other bright colors may occasionally be found, depending on the source of the sugar harvested by the bees.
Honey has the ability to absorb moisture directly from the air, a phenomenon called hygroscopy. The amount of water the honey absorbs is dependent on the relative humidity of the air. Because honey contains yeast, this hygroscopic nature requires that honey be stored in sealed containers to prevent fermentation, which usually begins if the honey's water content rises much above 25%. Honey tends to absorb more water in this manner than the individual sugars allow on their own, which may be due to other ingredients it contains.
Fermentation of honey usually occurs after crystallization, because without the glucose, the liquid portion of the honey primarily consists of a concentrated mixture of fructose, acids, and water, providing the yeast with enough of an increase in the water percentage for growth. Honey that is to be stored at room temperature for long periods of time is often pasteurized, to kill any yeast, by heating it above 70 °C (158 °F).
Like all sugar compounds, honey caramelizes if heated sufficiently, becoming darker in color, and eventually burns. However, honey contains fructose, which caramelizes at lower temperatures than glucose. The temperature at which caramelization begins varies, depending on the composition, but is typically between 70 and 110 °C (158 and 230 °F). Honey also contains acids, which act as catalysts for caramelization. The specific types of acids and their amounts play a primary role in determining the exact temperature. Of these acids, the amino acids, which occur in very small amounts, play an important role in the darkening of honey. The amino acids form darkened compounds called melanoidins, during a Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction occurs slowly at room temperature, taking from a few to several months to show visible darkening, but speeds up dramatically with increasing temperatures. However, the reaction can also be slowed by storing the honey at colder temperatures.
Unlike many other liquids, honey has very poor thermal conductivity of 0.5 W/(m⋅K) at 13% water content (compared to 401 W/(m⋅K) of copper), taking a long time to reach thermal equilibrium. Due to its high kinematic viscosity honey does not transfer heat through momentum diffusion (convection) but rather through thermal diffusion (more like a solid), so melting crystallized honey can easily result in localized caramelization if the heat source is too hot, or if it is not evenly distributed. However, honey takes substantially longer to liquify when just above the melting point than at elevated temperatures. Melting 20 kg of crystallized honey, at 40 °C (104 °F), can take up to 24 hours, while 50 kg may take twice as long. These times can be cut nearly in half by heating at 50 °C (122 °F). However, many of the minor substances in honey can be affected greatly by heating, changing the flavor, aroma, or other properties, so heating is usually done at the lowest temperature possible for the shortest amount of time.
The average pH of honey is 3.9, but can range from 3.4 to 6.1. Honey contains many kinds of acids, both organic and amino. However, the different types and their amounts vary considerably, depending on the type of honey. These acids may be aromatic or aliphatic (nonaromatic). The aliphatic acids contribute greatly to the flavor of honey by interacting with the flavors of other ingredients.
Organic acids comprise most of the acids in honey, accounting for 0.17–1.17% of the mixture, with gluconic acid formed by the actions of glucose oxidase as the most prevalent. Other organic acids are minor, consisting of formic, acetic, butyric, citric, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic, propionic, valeric, capronic, palmitic, and succinic, among many others.
Honey is classified by its floral source, and divisions are made according to the packaging and processing used. Also, regional honeys are identified. In the USA, honey is also graded on its color and optical density by USDA standards, graded on the Pfund scale, which ranges from 0 for "water white" honey to more than 114 for "dark amber" honey.
Generally, honey is classified by the floral source of the nectar from which it was made. Honeys can be from specific types of flower nectars or can be blended after collection. The pollen in honey is traceable to floral source and therefore region of origin. The rheological and melissopalynological properties of honey can be used to identify the major plant nectar source used in its production.
Polyfloral honey, also known as wildflower honey, is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers. The taste may vary from year to year, and the aroma and the flavor can be more or less intense, depending on which bloomings are prevalent.
Monofloral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower. Monofloral honeys have distinctive flavors and colors because of differences between their principal nectar sources. To produce monofloral honey, beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower. In practice, because of the difficulties in containing bees, a small proportion of any honey will be from additional nectar from other flower types. Typical examples of North American monofloral honeys are clover, orange blossom, blueberry, sage, tupelo, buckwheat, fireweed, mesquite, and sourwood. Some typical European examples include thyme, thistle, heather, acacia, dandelion, sunflower, lavender, honeysuckle, and varieties from lime and chestnut trees. In North Africa (e.g. Egypt), examples include clover, cotton, and citrus (mainly orange blossoms). The unique flora of Australia yields a number of distinctive honeys, with some of the most popular being yellow box, blue gum, ironbark, bush mallee, Tasmanian leatherwood, and macadamia.
Instead of taking nectar, bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects. Honeydew honey is very dark brown in color, with a rich fragrance of stewed fruit or fig jam, and is not as sweet as nectar honeys. Germany's Black Forest is a well-known source of honeydew-based honeys, as well as some regions in Bulgaria, Tara (mountain) in Serbia, and Northern California in the United States. In Greece, pine honey (a type of honeydew honey) constitutes 60–65% of the annual honey production. Honeydew honey is popular in some areas, but in other areas, beekeepers have difficulty selling the stronger-flavored product.
The production of honeydew honey has some complications and dangers. This honey has a much larger proportion of indigestibles than light floral honeys, thus causing dysentery to the bees, resulting in the death of colonies in areas with cold winters. Good beekeeping management requires the removal of honeydew prior to winter in colder areas. Bees collecting this resource also have to be fed protein supplements, as honeydew lacks the protein-rich pollen accompaniment gathered from flowers.
Generally, honey is bottled in its familiar liquid form, but it is sold in other forms, and can be subjected to a variety of processing methods.
In the US, honey grading is performed voluntarily (USDA does offer inspection and grading "as on-line (in-plant) or lot inspection...upon application, on a fee-for-service basis.") based upon USDA standards. Honey is graded based upon a number of factors, including water content, flavor and aroma, absence of defects, and clarity. Honey is also classified by color, though it is not a factor in the grading scale. The honey grade scale is:
|Grade||Soluble solids||Flavor and aroma||Absence of defects||Clarity|
|A||≥ 81.4%||Good—"has a good, normal flavor and aroma for the predominant floral source or, when blended, a good flavor for the blend of floral sources and the honey is free from caramelized flavor or objectionable flavor caused by fermentation, smoke, chemicals, or other causes with the exception of the predominant floral source"||Practically free—"contains practically no defects that affect the appearance or edibility of the product"||Clear—"may contain air bubbles which do not materially affect the appearance of the product and may contain a trace of pollen grains or other finely divided particles of suspended material which do not affect the appearance of the product"|
|B||≥ 81.4%||Reasonably good—"has a reasonably good, normal flavor and aroma for the predominant floral source or, when blended, a reasonably good flavor for the blend of floral sources and the honey is practically free from caramelized flavor and is free from objectionable flavor caused by fermentation, smoke, chemicals, or other causes with the exception of the predominant floral source"||Reasonably free—"may contain defects which do not materially affect the appearance or edibility of the product"||Reasonably clear—"may contain air bubbles, pollen grains, or other finely divided particles of suspended material which do not materially affect the appearance of the product"|
|C||≥ 80.0%||Fairly good—"has a fairly good, normal flavor and aroma for the predominant floral source or, when blended, a fairly good flavor for the blend of floral sources and the honey is reasonably free from caramelized flavor and is free from objectionable flavor caused by fermentation, smoke, chemicals, or other causes with the exception of the predominant floral source"||Fairly free—"may contain defects which do not seriously affect the appearance or edibility of the product"||Fairly clear—"may contain air bubbles, pollen grains, or other finely divided particles of suspended material which do not seriously affect the appearance of the product"|
|Substandard||Fails Grade C||Fails Grade C||Fails Grade C||Fails Grade C|
Other countries may have differing standards on the grading of honey. India, for example, certifies honey grades based on additional factors, such as the Fiehe's test, and other empirical measurements.
High-quality honey can be distinguished by fragrance, taste, and consistency. Ripe, freshly collected, high-quality honey at 20 °C (68 °F) should flow from a knife in a straight stream, without breaking into separate drops. After falling down, the honey should form a bead. The honey, when poured, should form small, temporary layers that disappear fairly quickly, indicating high viscosity. If not, it indicates excessive water content (over 20%) of the product. Honey with excessive water content is not suitable for long-term preservation.
In jars, fresh honey should appear as a pure, consistent fluid, and should not set in layers. Within a few weeks to a few months of extraction, many varieties of honey crystallize into a cream-colored solid. Some varieties of honey, including tupelo, acacia, and sage, crystallize less regularly. Honey may be heated during bottling at temperatures of 40–49 °C (104–120 °F) to delay or inhibit crystallization. Overheating is indicated by change in enzyme levels, for instance, diastase activity, which can be determined with the Schade or the Phadebas methods. A fluffy film on the surface of the honey (like a white foam), or marble-colored or white-spotted crystallization on a container's sides, is formed by air bubbles trapped during the bottling process.
A 2008 Italian study determined nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy can be used to distinguish between different honey types, and can be used to pinpoint the area where it was produced. Researchers were able to identify differences in acacia and polyfloral honeys by the differing proportions of fructose and sucrose, as well as differing levels of aromatic amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. This ability allows greater ease of selecting compatible stocks.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,272 kJ (304 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.2 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
In a 100-gram serving, honey provides 304 kilocalories with no essential nutrients in significant content. Composed of 17% water and 82% carbohydrates, honey has low content of fat, dietary fiber, and protein.
A mixture of sugars and other carbohydrates, honey is mainly fructose (about 38%) and glucose (about 32%), with remaining sugars including maltose, sucrose, and other complex carbohydrates. Its glycemic index ranges from 31 to 78, depending on the variety. The specific composition, color, aroma, and flavor of any batch of honey depend on the flowers foraged by bees that produced the honey.
A 2013 NMR spectroscopy study of 20 different honeys from Germany found that their sugar contents comprised:
The average ratio was 56% fructose to 44% glucose, but the ratios in the individual honeys ranged from a high of 64% fructose and 36% glucose (one type of flower honey; table 3 in reference) to a low of 50% fructose and 50% glucose (a different floral source). This NMR method was not able to quantify maltose, galactose, and the other minor sugars as compared to fructose and glucose.
Preliminary evidence is that honey heals partial thickness burns 4-5 days faster than conventional dressings, and moderate evidence suggests that honey heals post-operative infections faster and with fewer adverse events than antiseptic and gauze. The evidence for the use of honey in various other wound treatments is of low quality, and firm conclusions cannot be drawn. Evidence does not support the use of honey-based products in the treatment of venous stasis ulcers or ingrown toenail.
For chronic and acute coughs, a Cochrane review found no strong evidence for or against the use of honey. For treating children, the systematic review concluded with moderate to low evidence that honey probably helps more than no treatment, diphenhydramine, and placebo at giving relief from coughing. Honey does not appear to work better than dextromethorphan at relieving coughing in children.
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency recommends avoiding giving over the counter cough and common cold medication to children under six, and suggests "a homemade remedy containing honey and lemon is likely to be just as useful and safer to take", but warns that honey should not be given to babies because of the risk of infant botulism. The World Health Organization recommends honey as a treatment for coughs and sore throats, including for children, stating that no reason exists to believe it is less effective than a commercial remedy. Honey is recommended by one Canadian physician for children over the age of one for the treatment of coughs, as it is deemed as effective as dextromethorphan and more effective than diphenhydramine.
The use of honey has been recommended as a temporary intervention for known or suspected button cell ingestions to reduce the risk and severity of injury to the esophagus caused by the battery prior to its removal.
Consumption is sometimes advocated as a treatment for seasonal allergies due to pollen, but scientific evidence to support the claim is inconclusive. Honey is generally considered ineffective for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis.
Honey is generally safe when taken in typical food amounts, but it may have various, potential adverse effects or interactions in combination with excessive consumption, existing disease conditions, or drugs. Included among these are mild reactions to high intake, such as anxiety, insomnia, or hyperactivity in about 10% of children, according to one study. No symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, or hyperactivity were detected with honey consumption compared to placebo, according to another study. Honey consumption may interact adversely with existing allergies, high blood sugar levels (as in diabetes), or anticoagulants used to control bleeding, among other clinical conditions.
Infantile botulism shows geographical variation. In the UK, only six cases have been reported between 1976 and 2006, yet the U.S. has much higher rates: 1.9 per 100,000 live births, 47.2% of which are in California. While the risk honey poses to infant health is small, taking the risk is not recommended until after one year of age, and then giving honey is considered safe.
Mad honey intoxication is a result of eating honey containing grayanotoxins. Honey produced from flowers of rhododendrons, mountain laurels, sheep laurel, and azaleas may cause honey intoxication. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, nausea, and vomiting. Less commonly, low blood pressure, shock, heart rhythm irregularities, and convulsions may occur, with rare cases resulting in death. Honey intoxication is more likely when using "natural" unprocessed honey and honey from farmers who may have a small number of hives. Commercial processing, with pooling of honey from numerous sources, is thought to dilute any toxins.
Toxic honey may also result when bees are proximate to tutu bushes (Coriaria arborea) and the vine hopper insect (Scolypopa australis). Both are found throughout New Zealand. Bees gather honeydew produced by the vine hopper insects feeding on the tutu plant. This introduces the poison tutin into honey. Only a few areas in New Zealand (the Coromandel Peninsula, Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Marlborough Sounds) frequently produce toxic honey. Symptoms of tutin poisoning include vomiting, delirium, giddiness, increased excitability, stupor, coma, and violent convulsions. To reduce the risk of tutin poisoning, humans should not eat honey taken from feral hives in the risk areas of New Zealand. Since December 2001, New Zealand beekeepers have been required to reduce the risk of producing toxic honey by closely monitoring tutu, vine hopper, and foraging conditions within 3 km (1.9 mi) of their apiary. Intoxication is rarely dangerous.
Honey use and production has a long and varied history. In many cultures, honey has associations that go beyond its use as a food. It is frequently used as a talisman and symbol of sweetness.
Honey collection is an ancient activity. Humans apparently began hunting for honey at least 8,000 years ago, as evidenced by a cave painting in Valencia, Spain. The painting is a Mesolithic rock painting, showing two honey hunters collecting honey and honeycomb from a wild bee nest. The figures are depicted carrying baskets or gourds, and using a ladder or series of ropes to reach the wild nest.
The oldest known honey remains were found in the country of Georgia. Archaeologists found honey remains on the inner surface of clay vessels unearthed in an ancient tomb, dating back some 4,700–5,500 years. In ancient Georgia, several types of honey were buried with a person for their journey into the afterlife, including linden, berry, and meadow-flower varieties.
In ancient Egypt, honey was used to sweeten cakes and biscuits, and was used in many other dishes. Ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern peoples also used honey for embalming the dead. The fertility god of Egypt, Min, was offered honey.
In ancient Greece, honey was produced from the Archaic to the Hellenistic periods. In 594 BC, beekeeping around Athens was so widespread that Solon passed a law about it: "He who sets up hives of bees must put them 300 feet (91 metres) away from those already installed by another". Greek archaeological excavations of pottery located ancient hives. According to Columella, Greek beekeepers of the Hellenistic period did not hesitate to move their hives over rather long distances to maximize production, taking advantage of the different vegetative cycles in different regions.
In the absence of sugar, honey was an integral sweetening ingredient in Greek and Roman cuisine. During Roman times, honey was part of many recipes and it is mentioned in the work of many authors, such as Virgil, Pliny, Cicero, and others.
Beekeeping in ancient China has existed since ancient times and appears to be untraceable to its origin. In the book Golden Rules of Business Success written by Fan Li (or Tao Zhu Gong) during the Spring and Autumn period, some parts mention the art of beekeeping and the importance of the quality of the wooden box for beekeeping that can affect the quality of its honey.
Honey was also cultivated in ancient Mesoamerica. The Maya used honey from the stingless bee for culinary purposes, and continue to do so today. The Maya also regard the bee as sacred (see Mayan stingless bees of Central America).
Some cultures believed honey had many practical health uses. It was used as an ointment for rashes and burns, and to help soothe sore throats when no other practices were available.
In myths and folk medicine, honey has been used both orally and topically to treat various aillments including gastric disturbances, ulcers, skin wounds, and skin burns by ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.
Proposed for treating wounds and burns, honey may have antimicrobial properties as first reported in 1892 and be useful as a safe, improvizational wound treatment. Though its supposed antimicrobial properties may be due to high osmolarity even when diluted with water, it is more effective than plain sugar water of a similar viscosity. Definitive clinical conclusions about the efficacy and safety of treating wounds, however, are not possible from this limited research.
Hinduism In Hinduism, honey (Madhu) is one of the five elixirs of life (Panchamrita). In temples, honey is poured over the deities in a ritual called Madhu abhisheka. The Vedas and other ancient literature mention the use of honey as a great medicinal and health food.
Judaism In Jewish tradition, honey is a symbol for the new year, Rosh Hashanah. At the traditional meal for that holiday, apple slices are dipped in honey and eaten to bring a sweet new year. Some Rosh Hashanah greetings show honey and an apple, symbolizing the feast. In some congregations, small straws of honey are given out to usher in the new year.
The Hebrew Bible contains many references to honey. In the Book of Judges, Samson found a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of a lion (14:8). In Old Testament law, offerings were made in the temple to God. The Book of Leviticus says that "Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the Lord" (2:11). In the Books of Samuel, Jonathan is forced into a confrontation with his father King Saul after eating honey in violation of a rash oath Saul has made. Proverbs 16:24 in the JPS Tanakh 1917 version says "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." Book of Exodus famously describes the Promised Land as a "land flowing with milk and honey" (33:3). However, most Biblical commentators write that the original Hebrew in the Bible (דבש devash) refers to the sweet syrup produced from the juice of dates (silan). In 2005 an apiary dating from the 10th century B.C. was found in Tel Rehov, Israel that contained 100 hives and is estimated to produce half a ton of honey annually. Pure honey is considered kosher, though it is produced by a flying insect, a non-kosher creature; other products of non-kosher animals are not kosher.
Buddhism In Buddhism, honey plays an important role in the festival of Madhu Purnima, celebrated in India and Bangladesh. The day commemorates Buddha's making peace among his disciples by retreating into the wilderness. The legend has it that while he was there, a monkey brought him honey to eat. On Madhu Purnima, Buddhists remember this act by giving honey to monks. The monkey's gift is frequently depicted in Buddhist art.
Islam In Islam, an entire chapter (Surah) in the Qur'an is called an-Nahl (the Bees). According to his teachings (hadith), Muhammad strongly recommended honey for healing purposes. The Qur'an promotes honey as a nutritious and healthy food. Below is an English translation of those specific verses:
And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought [Al-Quran 16:68–69].
Sucrose synthesized by a C3 plant (e.g. sugar beet) can be distinguished from sucrose synthesized by a C4 plant (e.g. sugarcane) due to differences in δ values.
If however, rheological measurements are made on a given sample it can be deduced that the sample is predominantly Manuka (Graph 2) or Kanuka (Graph 3) or a mixture of the two plant species
The color, flavor and even aroma of honey differs, depending on the nectar of flowers visited by the bees that made it. There are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States alone, each originating from a different floral source.
Wildflower honey is often used to describe honey from miscellaneous and undefined flower sources.
Honey that is from wild or commercialized honeybees that is derived from many types of flowers is a resulting polyfloral honey.
Honey appears to heal partial thickness burns more quickly than conventional treatment (which included polyurethane film, paraffin gauze, soframycin-impregnated gauze, sterile linen and leaving the burns exposed) and infected post-operative wounds more quickly than antiseptics and gauze.
The Africanized bee, also known as the Africanised honey bee, and known colloquially as the "killer bee", is a hybrid of the western honey bee species (Apis mellifera), produced originally by cross-breeding of the East African lowland honey bee (A. m. scutellata) with various European honey bees such as the Italian honey bee A. m. ligustica and the Iberian honey bee A. m. iberiensis.
The Africanized honey bee was first introduced to Brazil in 1956 in an effort to increase honey production, but 26 swarms escaped quarantine in 1957. Since then, the hybrid has spread throughout South America and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in South Texas of the United States in 1990.Africanized bees are typically much more defensive than other varieties of honey bee, and react to disturbances faster than European honey bees. They can chase a person a quarter of a mile (400 m); they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving ten times more stings than from European honey bees. They have also killed horses and other animals.Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea and are presently considered a clade, called Anthophila. There are over 16,000 known species of bees in seven recognized biological families. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
Some species including honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees live socially in colonies. Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae. Bee pollination is important both ecologically and commercially. The decline in wild bees has increased the value of pollination by commercially managed hives of honey bees.
Bees range in size from tiny stingless bee species whose workers are less than 2 millimetres (0.08 in) long, to Megachile pluto, the largest species of leafcutter bee, whose females can attain a length of 39 millimetres (1.54 in). The most common bees in the Northern Hemisphere are the Halictidae, or sweat bees, but they are small and often mistaken for wasps or flies. Vertebrate predators of bees include birds such as bee-eaters; insect predators include beewolves and dragonflies.
Human beekeeping or apiculture has been practised for millennia, since at least the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. Apart from honey and pollination, honey bees produce beeswax, royal jelly and propolis. Bees have appeared in mythology and folklore, through all phases of art and literature, from ancient times to the present day, though primarily focused in the Northern Hemisphere, where beekeeping is far more common.
The analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species across Britain from 1980 to 2013 found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980.Beehive
A beehive is an enclosed, man-made structure in which some honey bee species of the subgenus Apis live and raise their young. Though the word beehive is commonly used to describe the nest of any bee colony, scientific and professional literature distinguishes nest from hive. Nest is used to discuss colonies which house themselves in natural or artificial cavities or are hanging and exposed. Hive is used to describe an artificial, man-made structure to house a honey bee nest. Several species of Apis live in colonies, but for honey production the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) and the eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) are the main species kept in hives.The nest's internal structure is a densely packed group of hexagonal prismatic cells made of beeswax, called a honeycomb. The bees use the cells to store food (honey and pollen) and to house the brood (eggs, larvae, and pupae).
Beehives serve several purposes: production of honey, pollination of nearby crops, housing supply bees for apitherapy treatment, and to try to mitigate the effects of colony collapse disorder. In America, hives are commonly transported so that bees can pollinate crops in other areas. A number of patents have been issued for beehive designs.Beekeeping
Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives, by humans. Most such bees are honey bees in the genus Apis, but other honey-producing bees such as Melipona stingless bees are also kept. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produce (including beeswax, propolis, flower pollen, bee pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard."Colony collapse disorder
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees. While such disappearances have occurred sporadically throughout the history of apiculture, and were known by various names (disappearing disease, spring dwindle, May disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease), the syndrome was renamed colony collapse disorder in late 2006 in conjunction with a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in North America. Most European countries observed a similar phenomenon since 1998, especially marked in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, Switzerland and Germany; the Northern Ireland Assembly received reports of a decline greater than 50%. The phenomenon became more global when it touched some Asian and African countries too. Colony collapse disorder causes significant economic losses because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by western honey bees. According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honey bee pollination was estimated at close to $200 billion in 2005. Shortages of bees in the US have increased the cost to farmers renting them for pollination services by up to 20%.In the six years leading up to 2013, more than 10 million beehives were lost, often to CCD, nearly twice the normal rate of loss. In comparison, according to U.N. FAO data, the world's beehive stock rose from around 50 million in 1961 to around 83 million in 2014, which is about 1.3% average annual growth. Average annual growth has accelerated to 1.9% since 2009.
Several possible causes for CCD have been proposed, but no single proposal has gained widespread acceptance among the scientific community. Suggested causes include: infections with Varroa and Acarapis mites; malnutrition; various pathogens; genetic factors; immunodeficiencies; loss of habitat; changing beekeeping practices; or a combination of factors. A large amount of speculation has surrounded a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids as having caused CCD.Ham
Ham is pork from a leg cut that has been preserved by wet or dry curing, with or without smoking. As a processed meat, the term "ham" includes both whole cuts of meat and ones that have been mechanically formed.
Ham is made around the world, including a number of regional specialties, such as Westphalian ham and some varieties of Spanish jamón. In addition, numerous ham products have specific geographical naming protection, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto Toscano in Europe, and Smithfield ham in the US.Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is an American reality television series that aired on TLC featuring the family of child beauty pageant contestant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. The show premiered on August 8, 2012 and ended on August 14, 2014. Thompson and her family originally rose to fame on TLC's reality series Toddlers & Tiaras. Ironically, the show's name comes from a taunt that Alana hurled at another pageant contestant during her debut in Toddlers and Tiaras, but a sweeping misinterpretation from the general public resulted in Alana being referred to as "Honey Boo Boo Child" instead. The show revolves around Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and her family's adventures in the town of McIntyre, Georgia. The reality series received predominantly negative reviews from television critics during its run.
On October 24, 2014, TLC cancelled the series after four seasons, following rumours stating that cast member June Shannon started dating a man who was a registered sex offender, which both Shannon and her older daughter Lauryn denied. A number of episodes had already been taped for a fifth season, but went unaired until April 21, 2017, when TLC aired four of the episodes as the two-hour special Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: The Lost Episodes.Honey badger
The honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel ( or ), is widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and in the Indian subcontinent. Because of its wide range and occurrence in a variety of habitats, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.It is the only species in the mustelid subfamily Mellivorinae and its only genus Mellivora. Despite its name, the honey badger does not closely resemble other badger species; instead, it bears more anatomical similarities to weasels. It is primarily a carnivorous species and has few natural predators because of its thick skin and ferocious defensive abilities.
Notorious for their strength, ferocity, and toughness, honey badgers have been known to attack and repel almost any kind of animal when escape is impossible, even much larger predators like lions. They are listed as the "world's most fearless animal" in the Guinness Book of World Records due to their fearlessness.Honey bee
A honey bee (or honeybee) is a eusocial, flying insect within the genus Apis of the bee clade. They are known for construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax, for the large size of their colonies, and for their surplus production and storage of honey, distinguishing their hives as a prized foraging target of many animals, including honey badgers, bears and human hunter-gatherers. In the early 21st century, only seven species of honey bee are recognized, with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically seven to eleven species are recognized. The best known honey bee is the Western honey bee which has been domesticated for honey production and crop pollination; modern humans also value the wax for candlemaking and other crafts. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey and have been kept by humans for that purpose, including the stingless honey bees, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees. The study of bees, which includes the study of honey bees, is known as melittology.Honeycomb
A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal prismatic wax cells built by honey bees in their nests to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen.
Beekeepers may remove the entire honeycomb to harvest honey. Honey bees consume about 8.4 lb (3.8 kg) of honey to secrete 1 lb (454 g) of wax, so it makes economic sense to return the wax to the hive after harvesting the honey. The structure of the comb may be left basically intact when honey is extracted from it by uncapping and spinning in a centrifugal machine—the honey extractor. If the honeycomb is too worn out, the wax can be reused in a number of ways, including making sheets of comb foundation with hexagonal pattern. Such foundation sheets allow the bees to build the comb with less effort, and the hexagonal pattern of worker-sized cell bases discourages the bees from building the larger drone cells.
Fresh, new comb is sometimes sold and used intact as comb honey, especially if the honey is being spread on bread rather than used in cooking or as a sweetener.
Broodcomb becomes dark over time, because of the cocoons embedded in the cells and the tracking of many feet, called travel stain by beekeepers when seen on frames of comb honey. Honeycomb in the "supers" that are not used for brood (e.g. by the placement of a queen excluder) stays light-colored.
Numerous wasps, especially Polistinae and Vespinae, construct hexagonal prism-packed combs made of paper instead of wax; in some species (such as Brachygastra mellifica), honey is stored in the nest, thus technically forming a paper honeycomb. However, the term "honeycomb" is not often used for such structures.Honeymoon
A honeymoon is a holiday taken by newlyweds immediately after their wedding, to celebrate their marriage; today, honeymoons are often celebrated in destinations considered exotic or romantic.List of breakfast cereals
This is a list of breakfast cereals. Many cereals are trademarked brands of large companies, such as Kellogg's, General Mills, Malt-O-Meal, Nestlé, Quaker Oats and Post Foods, but similar equivalent products are often sold by other manufacturers and as store brands.List of liqueurs
Liqueurs are alcoholic beverages that are bottled with added sugar and have added flavors that are usually derived from fruits, herbs, or nuts. Liqueurs are distinct from eaux-de-vie, fruit brandy, and flavored liquors, which contain no added sugar. Most liqueurs range between 15% and 55% alcohol by volume.Mead
Mead (, from Old English medu) is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcoholic content ranges from about 3.5% ABV to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage's fermentable sugar is derived from honey. It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.Mead was produced in ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, and has played an important role in the mythology of some peoples. In Norse mythology, for example, the Mead of Poetry was crafted from the blood of the wise being Kvasir and turned the drinker into a poet or scholar.
The terms "mead" and "honey-wine" often are used synonymously. Some cultures, though, differentiate honey-wine from mead. For example, Hungarians hold that while mead is made of honey, water and beer-yeast (barm), honey-wine is watered honey fermented by recrement of grapes or other fruits.Mustard (condiment)
Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant (white/yellow mustard, Sinapis alba; brown/Indian mustard, Brassica juncea; or black mustard, Brassica nigra).
The whole, ground, cracked, or bruised mustard seeds are mixed with water, vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or other liquids, salt, and often other flavorings and spices, to create a paste or sauce ranging in color from bright yellow to dark brown. The taste of mustard ranges from sweet to spicy.Commonly paired with meats and cheeses, mustard is also added to sandwiches, hamburgers, corn dogs, and hot dogs. It is also used as an ingredient in many dressings, glazes, sauces, soups, and marinades. As a cream or as individual seeds, mustard is used as a condiment in the cuisine of India and Bangladesh, the Mediterranean, northern and southeastern Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, making it one of the most popular and widely used spices and condiments in the world.Nancy Wilson (jazz singer)
Nancy Sue Wilson (February 20, 1937 – December 13, 2018) was an American singer whose career spanned over five decades, from the mid–1950s until her retirement in the early–2010s. She was notable for her single "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am" and her version of the standard "Guess Who I Saw Today". Wilson recorded more than 70 albums and won three Grammy Awards for her work. During her performing career Wilson was labeled a singer of blues, jazz, R&B, pop, and soul, a "consummate actress", and "the complete entertainer". The title she preferred, however, was "song stylist". She received many nicknames including "Sweet Nancy", "The Baby", "Fancy Miss Nancy" and "The Girl With the Honey-Coated Voice".Nectar
Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants in glands called nectaries, either within the flowers with which it attracts pollinating animals, or by extrafloral nectaries, which provide a nutrient source to animal mutualists, which in turn provide antiherbivore protection. Common nectar-consuming pollinators include mosquitoes, hoverflies, wasps, bees, butterflies and moths, hummingbirds, honeyeaters and bats. Nectar plays an important role in the foraging economics and overall evolution of nectar-eating species; for example, nectar and its properties are responsible for the differential evolution of the African honey bee, A. m. scutellata and the western honey bee.
Nectar is an ecologically important item, the sugar source for honey. It is also useful in agriculture and horticulture because the adult stages of some predatory insects feed on nectar. For example, the social wasp species Apoica flavissima relies on nectar as a primary food source. In turn, these wasps then hunt agricultural pest insects as food for their young. For example, thread-waisted wasps (genus Ammophila) are known for hunting caterpillars that are destructive to crops. Caterpillars however, do eventually become butterflies and moths, which are very important pollinators.Nectar secretion increases as the flower is visited by pollinators. After pollination, the nectar is frequently reabsorbed into the plant.Western honey bee
The western honey bee or European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. The genus name Apis is Latin for "bee", and mellifera is the Latin for "honey-bearing", referring to the species' production of honey.
Like all honey bees, the western honey bee is eusocial, creating colonies with a single fertile female (or "queen"), many normally non-reproductive females or "workers," and small proportion of fertile males or "drones." Individual colonies can house tens of thousands of bees. Colony activities are organized by complex communication between individuals, through both pheromones and the dance language.
The western honey bee was one of the first domesticated insects, and it is the primary species maintained by beekeepers to this day for both its honey production and pollination activities. With human assistance, the western honey bee now occupies every continent except Antarctica. Because of its wide cultivation, this species is the single most important pollinator for agriculture globally. Honey bees are threatened by pests and diseases, especially the varroa mite and colony collapse disorder.
Western honey bees are an important model organism in scientific studies, particularly in the fields of social evolution, learning, and memory; they are also used in studies of pesticide toxicity, to assess non-target impacts of commercial pesticides.Yo Yo Honey Singh
Hirdesh Singh (born 15 March 1983), known by this professional name, Yo Yo Honey Singh or Honey Singh, is an Indian music director, songwriter, Indi-pop singer, music producer and film actor. He started as a session and recording artist, and became a bhangra music producer. He has also begun to produce music for Bollywood films.
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Honey bee types and characteristics
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