There are a lot of misconceptions out in the world regarding honey, but is honey bee poop or is it something else entirely?
The truth is honey is not bee poop at all. Honey is, in fact, nectar that is transported by bees to the hive to remove moisture and create honey. The actual harvesting of nectar by the bees and subsequent ‘manufacture’ of honey is quite fascinating, though it raises a lot of questions and queries.
Here are the answers to questions that you may have regarding honey- is it actually bee poop?
How is Honey Made?
The way that honey is made is fascinating, though a labor intensive process for the bees involved in producing it. First, the team of worker bees must harvest nectar from flowers in the environment. Since they do not have pockets, they tuck the flower nectar into special little honey storage stomachs, which they can access as needed.
The bees arrive at the hive with nectar, passing it from their honey storage stomach to other bees before leaving to find more nectar.
Multiple bees handle and pass the honey between them, so they are each putting the nectar in their special stomach, chewing and breaking down nectar in-between. As this continues, the sugars in the nectar get broken down and the moisture is removed.
Finally, the bees deposit the remaining nectar into the hive’s honeycomb for storage. The bees flap their wings and work to help evaporate the rest of the moisture from the nectar tucked within the honeycomb until it is harvested by a farmer or beekeeper.
What is Honey?
Honey is nectar from flowers combined with some enzymes passed along from the bees that gather it. Honey is not bee vomit, bee poop, or bee spit. The confusion comes from how the bees pass the nectar along from one to the next- it resembles vomiting but is actually regurgitation.
The difference between vomiting and regurgitation is mostly about control: regurgitation can be controlled and involves bringing swallowed food- in this case, nectar- back into the mouth. Vomiting is typically uncontrolled and brings matter up from the stomach to the mouth.
Is Honey Actually Bee Poop?
Bees do poop, like any other creature, but honey is not bee poop. Honey is nectar that is transferred from bee to bee until all the moisture has been removed. The bee doesn’t actually consume the nectar and puke it up to make honey; instead, he stores it temporarily until he can pass it along to his bee teammate for further processing.
As for actual bee poop, their excrement is yellow in color and quite sticky. Bees poop in a similar fashion to birds- and their waste can be washed away with soap, water, and elbow grease. It can be tough to remove and simply won’t budge with just plain water.
Where Do Bees Poop?
This begs the question: where do bees poop? You may not have noticed, but bees may have pooped on your car, your home, your yard, and any other surface that happens to be in close proximity to their nectar hunting grounds.
That being said, if you want to keep bee poop off of your property, plant your flowers thoughtfully and far from your house or other belongings.
Surprisingly, bees do not like to poop near or in their hive. If they do poop inside their beehive, it is due to ill health or a poor diet. It is unusual and a sign of a serious issue with the bees. As for the queen bee, the workers clean up after her and keep her hive clean and spotless.
The worker bees can hold their poop until they are far from their hive when the weather is warm. An experienced beekeeper can identify issues with bees simply by looking at their faeces.
What is the Best Honey?
There is not a single type of honey that is the best, and it depends on your personal preferences to make such a choice. Some consumers prefer clover honey to wildflower honey- and they taste quite different. Try these popular kinds of honey:
Clover honey is by far the most popular type of honey in the US. It comes from Canada, and has a sweet, floral flavor. This honey works well in cooking and baking. It is high in antioxidants, too, so it supports healthy organ function.
Buckwheat honey is made in the US, particularly found in Ohio and New York. It is strong and robust, and a perfect choice for marinades and sauces. This type of honey is often used to fight infection as well as lower cholesterol.
Acacia honey is sweet and perfect for sweetening your cereal or cup of tea. It is high in fructose and has a long shelf life before it crystallizes. Acacia honey is lauded for helping to fight heart disease and certain types of cancer. It is a great antibacterial for the skin, too.
Manuka honey is used as a health preventative and is excellent for wound care. This type of honey hails form New Zealand and it tastes a bit antiseptic and like medicine. Manuka honey promotes healing and is antibacterial. It is also effective at relieving a sore throat.
Wildflower honey comes from a wide range of different flowers, so the taste is not always the same. Usually, wildflower honey is light flavored and fruity. Wildflower honey is often used as a cough suppressant, and it is believed that eating wildflower honey regularly can reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
Orange Blossom Honey
Orange blossom honey is made in warmer climates, and it has a citrus flavor that makes it unique. This honey helps support healthy immunity and protects against free radicals, thus reducing the incidence of sickness and disease.
Linden honey hails from Europe and it has herbal flavor that is distinctive. It is more expensive due to its limited availability. This tea offers sedative and sleep-inducing properties that make it helpful for insomnia.
You may also choose the crunchy satisfaction of crystallized honey over the liquid goodness that you often see sold in small plastic honey bears. Another option is to buy creamed or spreadable honey, which is great as a condiment or topping for a wide range of foods and fare.
Hopefully, any questions that you have regarding honey have been answered. As you can see, honey is not bee poop at all, but rather nectar that is processed in a very special way by the worker bees.
The bees do such a great job at removing moisture from honey that it has a very long shelf life and rarely- if ever- spoils. Try these recommendations for great honey today!