Apicultural Review Letters

Letter # 9
2006 January 4


Honey Science II

But honey is not honey, even if the process of production (in the honeybee) is always the same. The final product, which is yielded from honeycombs by running, extraction, or pressing, differ in several quality characteristics. The colour spectrum goes from nearly achromatic (white) to very dark colours. The consistency can be liquid, completely cristallized or beginning to cristallize. Differences in Taste and flavour depend mainly on botanical origin. According to the basic material one differs flowerhoney and honeydew honey. Flowerhoney comes completely or mainly from nectar of blossoms. Honeydew honey comes from honeydew of several tree species; excretions on plants from insects succing on plants. The bees collect these sugar containing excretions and converting it by combination with their own specific substances to honey. Honeydew honey is always dark, contains lots of mineral nutrients and has a spicy flavour; it is rather a specialty.

But the produce of honeybees differ also in respect of kinds of harvest:

1.  Comb-honey or comb in the comb is honey, which is still contained in caped combs built by the bees themselves - without broodcells. The combs are being cut and sold in portions to market. comb-honey is a produce to which neither mechanical (extraction, stiring procedure) nor heat treatment ("melting") has occured and which consequently is an product of especially high quality. Thus there is an increase in popularity regarding comb honey. But always again checking turns out that in parts 90 percent of the comb honey is being criticized. For the most part it is imported honey which contains brood and foundation and is sometimes contaminated with antibiotics and beerepellents. Also comb honey from Germany is concerned, if it is not produced according standards of Centre for Ecological Apiculture. According EU-Rules even artificial foundation in comb honey is allowed. More information and address source for pure German comb honey with natural cristalization (not heated) are availlable in the Centre for Ecological Apiculture or under phone: +49 5652 917899.

2.  Honey with parts of combs (chunk-honey) contains one or more pieces of comb-honey.

3.  A delicacy for people who live according the sentence: „A healthy mind in a healthy body" may also try comb-honey or chunk-honey with beebread (pollen stored by the bees in newly built combs). More information and address source as well availlable in the Centre for Ecological Apiculture or under phone: +49 5652 917899.

4.  Run-honey: this specialty is said to be the best honey directly after comb-honey. The beekeeper lets drip the honey out of the uncaped combs. This method is nowadays only practiced by very few beekeers; in Germany the Centre for Ecological Apiculture is the only institution, in which the production of this specialty is mainly practiced and taught.

5.  The „bestseller" among all honey kinds is extracted honey; he is being extracted from uncaped combs in a an extractor (centrifugal machine). This kind of honey is offered in most apiaries and can be found in supermarkets.

6.  Regarding presshoney the combs are being pressed or the honey is harvested by heating the combs up to 45°C. This method is rarely used nowadays.

7.  Nowadays honey is being ultrafiltrated - and withit somehow adulterated; honey is being heated and pressed through ceramic filters. This kind of honey needs to be labled as filter-honey as he contains almost no typical components of honey like pollen. Mainly used by Countries who are known as famous honeyexporters and mass producers of genetically modified seeds; they are able to filter out genetical engineered pollen. (This kind of honey usually can be found in supermarkets)

8.  Artificial honey: It is no honey, only similar to honey and an artificially produced substitute. It is allowed to mix honey with artificial honey. But this product needs to be labled as artificial honey. (very inexpensive and offered only in supermarkets)


Complete edition of letters published in Online-Magazine "Apiculture"

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