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Honey Bees

LACE Honeybee Sign by Liberty Acres Pond

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 candle-making, soap-making, lip balms, and other crafts. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Apis Mellifera is not native to the Americas, so it was not present when the European explorers and colonists arrived. However, other native bee species were kept and traded by indigenous peoples. In 1622, European colonists brought the European dark bee (A. m. mellifera) to the Americas first, followed later by the Italian honey bee (A. m. ligustica) and others. Many of the crops that depend on western honey bees for pollination have also been imported since colonial times. Escaped swarms (known as "wild" bees, but actually feral) spread rapidly as far as the Great Plains, usually preceding the colonists. Honey bees did not naturally cross the Rocky Mountains; they were transported by the Mormon pioneers to Utah in the late 1840s, and by ship to California in the early 1850s. The study of bees, which includes the study of honey bees, is known as melittology.

Produce: Honey, Beeswax, Bee Bread (Pollen), Bee Brood, Propolis, Royal Jelly 

Conservation-Status-Chart.png

Kingdom:Animalia

Phylum:Arthropoda

Class:Insecta

Order:Hymenoptera

Family:Apidae

Clade:Corbiculata

Tribe:Apini
Latreille, 1802

Genus:Apis
Linnaeus, 1758

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Welsh Apiary 7

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How sweet is the perception of a new nat
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Honeybees on Sunflower
Honeybees on Apple Blossom

Honeybees on Apple Blossom

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     Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has about the same relative sweetness as sucrose (table 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. Fifteen millilitres (1 US tablespoon) of honey provides around 190 kilojoules (46 kilocalories) of food energy.

     Honey use and production have a long and varied history as an ancient activity. Several cave paintings in Cuevas de la Araña in Spain depict humans foraging for honey at least 8,000 years ago. Possibly the world's oldest fermented beverage, dating from 9,000 years ago, mead ("honey wine") is the alcoholic product made by adding yeast to honey-water must and fermenting it for weeks or months. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is commonly used in modern mead production. Honey is classified by its floral source, and divisions are made according to the packaging and processing used. Individual honeys from different plant sources contain over 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which play a primary role in determining honey flavors and aromas. VOCs are responsible for nearly all of the aroma produced by a honey, which may be described as "sweet", "flowery", "citrus", "almond" or "rancid", among other terms. Regional honeys are also 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.

     Apitherapy - a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products, including honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom. Proponents of apitherapy make claims for its health benefits which are unsupported by evidence-based medicine.References to medical properties of bee products can be found in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Egyptian and Greek traditional medicine practices. Apitherapy has been practiced since the times of Hippocrates and Galen. Honey is a popular folk treatment for burns and other skin injuries. Honey has long been used as a topical antibiotic by practitioners of traditional and herbal medicine. Honey's antibacterial effects were first demonstrated by the Dutch scientist Bernardus Adrianus van Ketel in 1892. In myths and folk medicine, honey was used both orally and topically to treat various ailments including gastric disturbances, ulcers, skin wounds, and skin burns by ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.

     There are many references to honey in religion, Christianity, Hebrew, Islam, Jewish, Buddhism, Hinduism. From John the Baptist who was said to have lived for a long of time in the wilderness on a diet of locusts and honey (New Testament (Matthew 3:4)), to ancient Greece, the food of Zeus and the twelve Gods of Olympus was honey in the form of nectar and ambrosia.