Bee Products include more than just Honey! How many can you think of when people think about “what do bees make” most would say honey, but it doesn’t stop there. We take a look at the many bee products and bi-products made from these bees. There is even a large and profitable market in bee venom. Some graduate into apitherapy – a very effective alternative type of healing that is fast becoming mainstream medicine. Mead, honey or propolis soap, face creams and so on are all side-lines for the imaginative beekeeper. Other beekeepers devote their efforts to breeding the ‘perfect’ bee: a calm, gentle, disease-resistant, productive creature.
Honey is the complex substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants and trees are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees as a food source for the colony. All living species of bees have had their honey gathered by indigenous peoples for consumption. In some cases, excess pollen can be collected from the hives. It is often eaten as a health supplement, eaten in small amounts. It also has been used with moderate success as a source of pollen for hand pollination, however, pollen collected by bees and harvested for pollination must be used within a few hours because it loses its potency rapidly. Honey is sometimes also gathered by humans from the nests of various native stingless bees, though this is typically in much smaller quantities.
Nectar, a liquid high in sucrose, is produced in plant glands known as nectaries. Nectar is usually high in moisture, and this moisture is mostly evaporated by honey bees when they produce honey. The bees then seal these cells with honey and stored in the hive for later consumption. Bees do this because they do not consume pollen, in its raw form.
The word Propolis comes from Greek origin and means to defend the city. Propolis or bee glue is created from resins, balsams and tree saps. As far as small scale farming, compared to purchasing chickens and a chicken coop, goats and fencing, or other livestock, beekeeping is an affordable step into a sustainable lifestyle. Beehives also take much less space than chickens and goats and can be located in your backyard or even a small piece of land. Making beekeeping a first step to a sustainable lifestyle for many. Because of its high medicinal qualities, propolis is consumed by humans as a health supplement in various ways and also used in some cosmetics. Propolis is available in capsule form and even used as an ingredient in some toothpaste. Some species of honey bees that nest in tree cavities use propolis to seal cracks in the hive. Often when a swarm of honey bees take up residence in a possum box or tree hollow, bees use Propolis to make a small entrance to the hive. Dwarf honey bees use propolis to defend against ants by coating the branch from which their nest is suspended to create a sticky moat.
Bees collect pollen in their pollen basket and carry it back to the hive. However only
the worker honey bee is equipped to do this task. The queen bee and the male
(drone) bee do not collect pollen. In the bee hive pollen, is used as an essential