What is honey?

  Honey bees gather nectar from flowers. Nectar is a sugary liquid produced by flowers and used to attract insects which feed on the liquid, and in the process pick up pollen on their bodies and by moving from flower to flower they pollinate those flowers. Honey bees gather the nectar into a storage area in their body which is known as the honey stomach. This is a different area than their other stomach which they use to eat. Enzymes are added in the honey stomach. Upon arrival back at the hive this nectar is transferred to a house bee which deposits it into a cell in the honey comb. Each evening the bees spread themselves across the comb and flap their wings and in doing so they create a current of air which passes over the cells in the honey comb and evaporates water from the nectar. Once the moisture content of nectar reaches 19% or lower it has become honey and each cell is then capped with beeswax by the bees. Honey is not, as some people think, either bee"vomit" or bee "poop".
     Honey comes in all colors ranging from almost water white to a color that is so dark that it almost looks black. It also comes in many different aromas and tastes. All this variation is caused by the floral source of the nectar that the bees gathered. In this area of the country there is no single major source of nectar such as the Orange groves on Florida (Orange Blossom honey), or the vast farms of the upper midwest (Clover honey), or the stands of Tupelo trees in the lower southeast states (Tupelo honey), so the honey produced in the Northeast is a wildflower honey because the nectar comes from many different localized and limited nectar sources.

 

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