Products of the Beehive


  • Honey is made only by the Honeybee. The honeybee collects nectar (see below) from a variety of floral sources and ultimately turns it into honey. The process by which this happens includes the incidental introduction of certain enzymes from the honeybee's body while the nectar is in the honeybee's honey stomach. The resultant liquid has excess water removed (by evaporation) while it is in the honeycomb prior to being capped, by the honeybee, with beeswax. All honey is not the same as there are many different flavors, colors, etc. Also, most honeys will crystallize and some are actually encouraged to do so which does not effect the goodness of the honey. Honey, if stored properly, can last indefinitely (there's no expiration date).


  • Beeswax is what honeycomb is constructed from. It is a biological substance secreted from 4 pairs of glands at the underside of the worker bee's abdomen when between 2 and 3 weeks of age. Insects commonly secrete wax, however, the honeybee secretes it in larger quantity. Beeswax historically has been used in the production of candles, also in art for Batik and in the Lost Wax Process, for Encaustic Painting, in horticulture as a grafting wax, in cosmetics, in medicine and as a sealing wax, etc.


  • Propolis (translated from the Greek for "before the city") consists of gums and resins collected, by the honeybees, from many floral sources and used as a glue or cement to enhance the integrity of the hive. With it holes, cracks and crevices are sealed keeping out weather, wax moths and other enemies of the hive. Bees have been known to almost seal the hive with propolis presumedly to aid in it's protection. Also used to encase noxious remnants of deceased hive invaders. Hundreds of chemical compounds have been identified from propolis which lend it antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Royal Jelly

  • A secretion from glands, on the head, of young worker honeybees. Sometimes called bee milk it is a yellowish, milky, watery substance that is a special food fed mainly to young worker bee larvae and queen bee larvae and also thought to be fed to actively laying queens.

Nectar - not a product of the hive but the first step in the honey making process.

  • Nectar is the food of the gods, well, not quite but almost. Actually nectar is plant secretions, most often sweet and containing water, that pollinators like honeybees are attracted to. The specific ingredients of the nectar depends on the floral source (which type of flower which also determines the resultant taste of the honey) and the season or time of year.

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