All Things Raw Honey
Why does honey have an endless shelf life?
Raw honey is one of the few foods that don’t spoil. Archeologists have found Egyptian tombs with pots of honey still preserved and edible. Honey has a very low moisture quality, along with natural sugar and a certain type of organic acid that lends to its ability in avoiding bacteria.
When bees gather nectar they vibrate by flapping their wings and flight muscles which reduces the moisture from the nectar. During this process, their stomach produces an enzyme substance called glucose oxidase. When the bee regurgitates the nectar the by-product breaks down the glucose oxidase to gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. This prevents bacterial growth and its forever lasting quality, both in the comb and as stored container honey.
Does honey have medicinal properties?
Yes. One of the most effective aspects used with honey is for wound healing within the medical industry. Using honey as a wound barrier bandage allows the wound to heal without adding extra moisture.
The honey bandage draws moisture from the wound, while it lets off hydrogen peroxide solution into the wound for healing. Honey that has been filtered by heating though loses these very important healing properties and its shelf life.
Is beeswax edible?
Beeswax is totally edible. People have ingested beeswax for thousands of years. There are no confirmed clinical trials, but scientific studies have shown beeswax to reduce cholesterol and helpful toward reducing stomach ulcers caused by non-steroid drugs.
A Brazilian dental study showed that beeswax may help guard against cavities. It’s chewed as a way to cleanse and protect the teeth. Other beeswax uses are as a lip balm, moisturizer for wood products and skin, rust protective for steel utensils and cookware, used for burns, diaper rash, hemorrhoids, and for skin and nail fungal infections.
Why are bees vital to our lives?
Bees are the most abundant and efficient plant pollinators of our food worldwide. Bees as pollinators transfer pollen from the male part of the plant to the female part of the plant. The bees unique hair-like surface hold pollen, which makes it great for transferring pollen typically from the same species of flower, while also being rewarded with nectar from flowering plants. This type of transfer, or cross-pollination, also produces viable seeds for new plant growth.
The protein from the pollen is also used to feed their offspring and create strong colonies. There are other insects, butterflies, and birds that help in pollinating plants for food, but bees are the real workers. Approximately one-third of the plants we consume relies on the work of honey bees for pollination. It is estimated that if bees became extinct then we would only have about four years to live. Also, if the population of bees is reduced then it would also reduce the yield of food grown for our survival.
The lives of bees are threatened by pesticides and some herbicides. Some of these chemicals are destructive to bees and human life contributing to certain health issues and cancers in humans.
In a typical hive, there is one reproducing female, which is the queen, and there are the worker bees and the drones. The unfertilized eggs produce drones that are the male bees and the fertilized eggs produce the female worker bees. These drones feed off honey cells and eventually fly off to mate with other young female queens in order to make their own colony different from the colony they are from. Female worker bees do not become queens. Queens are formed at the larvae stage and kept in a wax cell until mature to mate.
Bees have a very unique cooperative way of survival. They rely on helping each other and plant life to live. All bees need pollen and nectar from plants to survive and reproduce. Landscaping that offers overlapping bloom periods help make strong colonies. We all need to do our part to preserve the lives of bees and be mindful of growing plants that bees love.