So….where does Honey come from – especially our delicious Adirondack Wildflower Honey?

Full Disk to sort 07.17.10 063Without getting all scientific (which my family tells me I do too often), here we go with some amazing Honeybee facts:

First of all, it’s important to know that Honeybees are the only insect that produces food for us to eat.

A hive of Honeybees will fly 50,000 to 60,000 miles a season to gather the nectar, pollen, water and resins needed to keep the colony healthy and productive. During the course of a season, Honeybees foragers will visit millions of blossoms in order to produce their main source of food, honey.

Honeybees are equipped to extract nectar from blossoms. Honeybees use their long straw like proboscis, a tube-like tongue to suck the nectar out of the flower blossoms. The Honeybees store the nectar in their honey stomach, which is not their regular stomach, it’s more like a honey backpack or pouch which they use to carry nectar back to the hive and transfer it to other worker bees.

The worker honeybees that remain in the hive take the nectar and chew on it for the time required for the honeybee enzymes to break down the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars. Then the nectar is placed is the honeycombs to allow any remaining water to evaporate from it. The worker honeybees use their wings to assist in the evaporation process. This evaporation and drying process thickens the nectar into to the product we know as honey. This process makes the honey more digestible for the honeybees to consume as food, but also protects the honey bacteria.

Hand harvested Adirondack wildflower honeyAs the moisture evaporates from the nectar and the honey thickens, the quality control worker bee decides to have the honeycomb cell sealed off with beeswax and preserved until needed as honeybee food or the surplus honey is removed and harvested by the beekeeper.

Our Adirondack Honey is good stuff!  It is composed of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fructose, water and glucose, perfect for baking and sweetening…even soothing sore throats! (Get your Uncle Pat’s Wildflower Honey here – made with love in the Adirondacks!)

Did you know?

  • Honey is one of the safest foods, because of the density of honey most harmful bacteria cannot live in honey for any length of time.
  • Honeybee colony population at the beginning of Spring will be between 9,000-15,000 bees, but by mid-summer the colony population will exceed 50,000.
  • Each colony of honeybees has one Queen. The Queen may lay up to 2,000-2,500 eggs per day during the peak of the season.
  • One Honeybee colony can produce more than 100 pounds of extra honey. This is honey in surplus of what the colony needs to survive. The prudent beekeeper only harvests the surplus.
  • Honeybees are used for pollination. An acre of fruit trees requires approximately 30,000 to 40,000 for successful crop pollination. The more honeybees present at the time of flowering the higher the crop success rate.
  • Honeybees can flap their wings 200-225 times per second and can hit 15 MPH.
  • A pound of honey requires the cooperation of 10,000-12,000 worker bees. A honeybee gathers 1/10 of a teaspoon of honey during her short lifespan.
  • During the summer season, a worker bee lives approximately 5-6 weeks.
  • Honey contains 17% water when the evaporation process is complete and the honey is capped. Nectar when first gathered contains about 70% water.
  • Normally, the darker the honey the more intense the honey flavor. Honey varies in color based on the type of nectar gathered, and can range from almost clear to dark brown.
  • Based on Beekeeping economics, the value of the crops pollinated by the Honeybees during the nectar gathering process is valued at 10 -12 times the value of the honey harvested.