Australian honey abuzz with high-value antibacterial activity

Australia has at least seven Leptospermum species that produce honey with exceptionally high levels of antibacterial activity, providing the scientific basis to facilitate the entry of Australian honey producers into premium ...

From biomedicine to buzz pollination: why we need a plan 'bee'

With Extinction Rebellion's mass bee-themed 'die ins' hitting the international news, we're reminded again that our bees are facing many threats—from climate change and loss of native plants to food fights with honey bees.

Black year for European beekeepers

This year has been a black one for many European beekeepers, particularly in France and Italy, where unpredictable weather has produced what are being termed the worst honey harvests ever.

Climate change pushes Italy beekeepers to the brink

Unusual weather driven by climate change is wreaking havoc on bee populations, including in northern Italy where the pollinating insects crucial to food production are struggling to survive.

Confronting colony collapse

Honey bee colony collapse has devastating consequences for the environment, the global economy, and food security worldwide. The culprits behind some of the destruction—parasitic Varroa mites—are just a couple of millimeters ...

New tool improves beekeepers' overwintering odds and bottom line

A new tool from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) can predict the odds that honey bee colonies overwintered in cold storage will be large enough to rent for almond pollination in February. Identifying which colonies ...

To save honey bees we need to design them new hives

Honey bees are under extreme pressure. The number of honey bee colonies in the US has been declining at an average rate of almost 40% since 2010. The biggest contributor to this decline is viruses spread by a parasite, Varroa ...

Caffeine does not influence stingless bees

The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) that has a sting for use in defense is common in Western Europe. Stingless bees, on the other hand, are mainly at home in the tropics and subtropics. They are a very social group and ...

Pesticides deliver a one-two punch to honey bees

Adjuvants are chemicals that are commonly added to plant protection products, such as pesticides, to help them spread, adhere to targets, disperse appropriately, or prevent drift, among other things. There was a widespread ...

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Honey

Honey (English pronunciation: /ˈhʌni/) is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.

Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation, and store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Beekeeping practices encourage overproduction of honey so the excess can be taken from the colony.

Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar. It has attractive chemical properties for baking, and a distinctive flavor that leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its low water activity of 0.6. However, honey sometimes contains dormant endospores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous to infants, as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in the infant's immature intestinal tract, leading to illness and even death (see Health hazards below).

Honey has a long history of human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey. Because bees carry an electrostatic charge, and can attract other particles, the same techniques of melissopalynology can be used in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust or particulate pollution.

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