Honey Production Guide: The Basics to Get Started
Honey is a naturally sweet, viscous food produced by honey bees, by collecting plant nectar, which is then altered by the bee using some kinds of enzymes and then finally store the formed sweet substance in its wax comb cells.
Bees create honey by dehydrating nectars, forming a supersaturated and edible product with more sugar and less water, however, the presence of a high taste of sugar in honey doesn’t affect the use of honey because it appears to be very healthy compared to crystal-like sugar, now after the viscous sweet product has been formed by the bee, it is then stored in a wax comb.
Honey is the only natural available product with a high rate of sweetness that can be found in nature.
Beekeepers, majorly harvest bee honey for human consumption, in this article we’ll be talking about how we can harvest honey.
If honey is your thing, then this article is for you, as we’ll be looking into extensively what honey is, why, and how we can harvest honey.
Why Do Bees Make Honey?
To begin with, beebread and Royall jelly are the primary diets of bees, which they make from pollen, nectar, and water.
And then feed on this beebread and Royall jelly to develop bee larvae, however, honey is the primary food source for adult bees.
Bee’s tend to have some sought of high-energy food source that lasts for extended periods without getting spoilt. In addition, capped honey is available to the bees when other food sources are not, especially during winter.
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How Do Bees Make Honey?
The primary or major building block of honey is the nectar produced by flowering plants consumed by honey bees.
What is nectar? it is a sweet watery liquid containing amino acids, enzymes, aroma sources, sugar, and much more nectar is about 80% water.
What attracts pollinators like bees is this nectar in flowering plants, nectar is an essential part of the life cycle of bees. However, while gathering pollen (Nectar), honey bees pollinate plants, which aids the plants’ reproduction.
You should also take note that foraging bees collect nectars, as much as they can with their tongue-like proboscis which is now then stored in a “Honey Stomach”, where both the nectars, bacteria’s and enzymes mix.
The chemical makeup of the nectar changes as a complex sugar breaks down into simple sugars.
Foraging bees then transfer the mixture of the nectar from their “Honey Stomach” to their bee house, who continue the conversion process. House bees regurgitate some of the nectar to evaporate water content.
The nectars are then regurgitated into wax combs by the honey bees cells, where other bees then fan it to further evaporate water. Eventually, water content is reduced to about 15 – 18% thereby increasing the glucose and sucrose content to about 70%.
Finally, after the former process, the nectar liquid becomes honey.
The major reason why honey can be stored for a very long period without getting spoilt is because of the reduced amount of water content combined with high sugar content some other components, making the honey anti-bacterial.
Bees, enclose the honey in wax combs when they discover that the nectar has become honey. However, these caps prevent honey from running during periods of high heat or absorbing additional moisture. Although honey contains trace amounts of pollen, pollen is not part of the honey-making process.
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Is Honey Bee Vomit or Bee Poop?
Most people are confused when it comes to telling if honey is a bee vomit or poop, the simple answer is NO, it is neither vomit nor poop.
During the honey-making process, as mentioned earlier the nectar is “regurgitated”, by being stored in the “Honey Stomach”, this part is separate and distinct from the bee’s stomach in the digestive tract.
Since the regurgitated nectar was never in the bee’s digestive tract and thus is neither vomit nor poop.
Why Is Honey Called Supersaturated?
As we all know now, honey is a viscous sweet liquid consisting of only sugar and water, this soluble sugar content relative to water is higher than normal at its stored temperature. This state is called “supersaturated.”
Raw Honey Versus Processed Honey
Raw honey is honey gotten directly from bee comb’s, which is been made without any addition of synthetic or artificial chemicals and additive, they just honey that are unaltered.
However, raw honey may contain trace amounts of pollen, propolis, and much more.
Assume that any honey not labeled as raw has most likely been pasteurized and heavily filtered.
Processing honey retards crystallization, impedes fermentation, and controls color, giving honey an appealing look on the shelf for the average consumer, mass producers process honey primarily for marketing purposes.
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What Are The Different Forms Of Honey?
- Liquid honey (also referred to as extracted honey)
- Crystallized honey (which starts as raw, liquid honey)
- Comb honey (sometimes called cut comb honey or honeycomb)
- Creamed honey (also called whipped or spun honey, among other things)
- Chunk honey
- Liquid Honey
How to Extract Honey
First and foremost, make sure to remove each frame of capped honey from the hive.
Ensure that the frames are held vertically, this helps the cappings fall away from the comb as you slice them, remove the wax cappings and expose the cells of honey, ensure that you slice them properly and gently using an uncapping capping stretcher, repeat this procedure for the opposite side of the frame.
When you’re done slicing/uncapping, place the sliced/uncapped frame on your extractor, ensure to place them vertically.
An extractor in this context is a device that spins sweet viscous liquid, honey, from the frame cells into a holding tank.
After extracting your honey, to your extractor, you can then start the cranking, by spinning slowly at first, building some speed as you progress, make sure not to spin the frames as fast as you can, after spinning for five to six minutes, turn all the frames to expose the opposite sides to the outer wall of the extractor.
Now, you can then open the outlet of your extractor and allow the honey to filter through a honey filter and into your container.
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