July 2011 ~ The Magical Work of Bees   




When most people think of bee-related products, honey is the main (if not the only) thing that comes to mind. But bees make an amazing array of other products that are useful to humans, too! 

This month, we talk about the magical process of how honey is created. And, over the coming newsletters, we will share more fascinating information about bees and what they produce!


Please email us if any particular process or product interests you and we'll be happy to share what we know.



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The Magical Work of Bees


Bees are pretty magical creatures ...  Some researchers have even called the bee colony a 'super organism', for its ability to behave like a single life form!  There are many aspects to the super organism theory -- from how the many thousands of individual bees are organized to what the colony produces.  Over the coming newsletters, we will share some of the fascinating qualities of bee colony and its products that humans utilize.

Bee on honeycomb

Bee drinking honey from honeycomb


When most people think of bee-related products, honey is the main (if not the only) thing that comes to mind.  But bees make an amazing array of other products useful to humans, too!  We can organize these products in two general categories: what the bees make and what they gather. 


Products that bees create from their bodies include wax, royal jelly, and venom -- all used by humans.  Products that are gathered by bees and then mixed with additional ingredients to create other products include honey, pollen, and propolis.



Honey, the most well known bee product, actually originates as flower  nectar. Nectar is the sweet, fragrant liquid that flowers exude.  Bees fly from flower to flower to gather nectar that is stored in the hive for future food needs. During their flight back to the hive, bees carry the nectar in a special 'honey stomach', which has a capacity of about 70mg. It can take as many as 1500 flower visits to fill each bee's honey stomach!


Bee on kiawe flower

    Bee collecting nectar from a kiawe flower in the Puako forest

Enzymes, naturally occurring in the bees' honey stomach, get mixed with nectar and, after the bees return to their hive, they deposit this nectar-enzyme solution into honey comb cells. Then, almost magically, the bees dehydrate the nectar by flapping their wings! Once the moisture content drops from approximately 75% down to 15-18%, the final product is ready: sweet, delicious honey.     


Honey Comb partially capped over with wax

Honey comb partially capped over with wax

Honeycomb cells are made of wax, produced by bees in special wax

glands (more about this in another newsletter). Once the honey is ripened, each wax cell is capped over with more wax to preserve it.  Bees instinctively gather as much nectar as possible when it's available from blooming flowers and store it for winter use when there is no nectar available.  A lot of commercial beekeepers will harvest all the honey from their bee hives and feed sugar water to the bees in the winter time.   At VIHC we always leave enough honey in the hives for our bees.  We are committed to natural bee keeping and producing a delectable honey of the highest quality.  


National Geographic Travelers Magazine has called it some of the best honey in the world.  Check it out! 



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In This Issue
The Magical Work of Bees

 Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey - $17  

"A state treasure."

- Bon Appetit 


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(June 2011)

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