What Are the Different Types of Honey?

using a honey dipper on a jar of honey

There are several types of honey around the world. This mainly depends on the process of how bees create it. The properties of honey are determined by what local flora bees get the nectar from. Honey can either be monofloral or polyfloral. Monofloral means that bees collected pollen from a single type of flower. The polyflora type is made from bees that collect food from several sources. They are considered lower-grade when compared to monofloral kinds of honey. This is why they are either filtered or pasteurized. In stores, this is commonly labeled as Wildflower Honey.

Another way to classify honey is based on the processing that has been done to it. The raw variant is honey which is yet to be processed. It still contains all the other byproducts of honeybees such as royal jelly and beeswax. If you want to experience honey in its most natural form, then look into trying this one.

The second type is filtered honey. Filtering is done to remove solid chunks in honey. This is done as beeswax and other honey byproducts fetch a higher price and are used in making cosmetics. Filtered honey looks clear and lacks the texture that raw honey has.

Lastly, pasteurized honey is the one you are most likely to see in supermarkets. It is created by heating honey up to 160°F to ensure that mass-produced honey is safe as it increases shelf life. Another way to differentiate honey is by color. Lighter colored honey has a generally milder taste compared to darker honey. Here is a list of some of the more common types of honey you can get:

Clover Honey

bee getting nectar from clover flower

This is the most widely produced type of honey in America. It is thick, rich, mild to tangy flavor. It is the honey which mainly used in cooking and baking. Clover honey is also suitable for use as a spread for biscuits and other pastries.

Buckwheat Honey

Easily identified for its dark color and a robust, full-bodied taste. Buckwheat honey has a strong rich malty flavor. It also closely resembles molasses both in flavor and texture.  Buckwheat honey is commonly produced in the Great Lakes region. It is also rich in antioxidants when compared to lighter varieties.

Sage Honey

sage flowers

Sage honey is light in color. It is predominantly produced in the West Coast. It is fruity and has a similar mild flavor to clover honey. Sage honey is commonly used as an additive to other types of honey due to its very slow granulation.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is more known for its medicinal capabilities than its taste. It is produced from the Manuka bush indigenous to New Zealand. It has been used as an antibacterial agent for treating wounds. Applying Manuka honey to wounds helps regenerate the tissues and cells.

Manuka honey has a stronger flavor compared to other variants. Though, considering that it is one of the healthiest kinds of honey makes it worth a try. Drink one tablespoon each day to boost your immune system.

Tupelo Honey

Tupelo honey is obtained from the swampy regions of Florida and Georgia. It has a buttery taste. Tupelo Honey has a distinct complex taste when compared to other honey variants. It is considered as one of the premium kinds of honey due to limited harvest time (less than a month). It may be difficult to obtain pure Tupelo honey as it has already gained as strong following and easily goes out of stock.

Eucalyptus Honey

eucalyptus flower

There are over 500 species of Eucalyptus plants which are mostly found in Australia and California. Eucalyptus honey has a mild flavor with a robust herbal aftertaste. It is not primarily used as a sweetener but can improve salads and other dishes. Eucalyptus honey also has a subtle aroma of menthol. It is recommended for people with cough and seasonal allergies.

Sourwood Honey

Sourwood honey is harvested from sourwood trees in the Appalachian Mountains. As opposed to its name, Sourwood Honey has a sweet, rich flavor with a pleasant lingering buttery aftertaste.

Orange Blossom Honey

This type of honey is produced in several parts of Texas, Southern California and Florida. It has a light color, fruity flavor and sweet citrus scent.

Although this is just a shortlist of the many types of honey around the world. Consistency, taste, smell and color are some of the things that make each honey type unique. Not only can it make your food taste sweeter, some variants also have medicinal properties that have been used by ancient civilizations. Remember what you have learned from this article the next time you are buying honey to find the perfect variant for you.

Health Benefits of Honey

honey poured on a white bowl

Honey is a very versatile food sourced from bees. It is used both as food and medicine. As early as 4,000 years ago, honey has been used by Ancient Egyptians as a topical ointment. Honey is a very thick, sweet liquid. One tablespoon of honey contains natural sugars. These include sucrose, fructose, maltose and glucose. Honey is also known to reduce cholesterol levels. Honey is also used in traditional medicine for burns and wounds.

Good Source of Antioxidants

Honey is rich in antioxidants. So, it can help you fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Antioxidants are also known to slow down cell damage due to free radicals. This can also help you strengthen your immune system.

Free radicals are substances that contribute to the cell aging process . This can lead to cell mutation leading to cancer, diabetes and cardiac diseases. Polyphenols are micronutrient compounds found in honey that can aid in this. Honey is also known to help reduce blood pressure.

Antiseptic Properties

Honey contains hydrogen peroxide. This can help prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria. Honey has low water content and high acidity. Once applied, it can help prevent the development of these organisms.

Wound Treatment

As mentioned, honey can be a potent germ killer. Aside from that, honey can also help with cell and tissue regeneration. When applied to wounds, honey acts as a source of nutrients to the body tissue, helping them heal faster. Honey is also used in treating gum problems such as bleeding and gingivitis

Nourishes Skin

woman marvelling at her skin

With the regenerative properties of honey, another application can be in cosmetics. When applied to the skin, honey can hold moisture. Thus, making it a good moisturizer. Honey can help with cracked lips, parched skin. It can also be used for dry scalp, making honey useful for people with dandruff. Honey can also be used for other skin diseases such as eczema.

Gut and Overall Health

man drinking water looking over a lake

Studies have shown that honey has antimicrobial effects against H. pylori. This the the bacteria primarily responsible for causing ulcers. Honey also contains probiotics. These are live microorganisms that improve gut health. This results in better digestion and nutrient absorption. And it boosts one’s overall health. Honey is also known to prevent acid reflux and aid with mild diarrhea.

When added to water, honey can make a refreshing drink which provides a quick boost and aids in endurance. Honey is rich in natural sugars making it a good way to recover energy. Honey is particularly helpful during long periods of physical activity.

Cough Medication

woman coughing

Drinking a tablespoon of honey or mixing it with lemon water or tea can aid with a cough. Drinking honey can help with the throat irritation. Not only that, but it can also help if you have a sore throat and even colds.

Honey can be an excellent alternative to artificial sugar. But it is still not suitable for people with diabetes as honey is 80% composed of monosaccharides. When consuming honey, you need to be mindful of your intake. It should also never be given to infants aged less than one year due to the risk of botulism. Honey has a lot of health benefits. With several proven studies on its medicinal properties, it should no longer be viewed as just a sweetener to food.

7 Things You Can Do to Save the Bees

bee on a flower

Honeybees are essential creatures to humans. They have been domesticated for pollination of commercial food production. Bees help produce billions worth of food each year. However, the global bee population is under threat. A disease called colony collapse disorder has been continually threatening its existence. Here are some things you can do to help save the bees:

Start a Bee Garden

two bees in a lavender garden

Make your garden a safe habitat for bees. Plant several native species of flowering plants that grow throughout several seasons so that bees have food all year round. Having bees and other pollinators such as butterflies can significantly improve the beauty of your home garden.

Go Chemical-Free

You may want to maintain the beauty of your flowers, but in doing so, you might be doing more harm than good. Pesticides have been known to harm the development of bees. If you spray insecticides, chances are they remain in the pollen, which the bees come in contact with. If they do not kill them outright, it will heavily impair how they function. It is better to use organic and natural products for your garden.

Plant Trees

plant in a hand

Trees can also be a source of honey for bees. Aside from providing food, it also gives them shelter. The rapid deforestation to create more farmlands not only increases the risks of flooding, erosion and climate change but also destroys the natural habitat of bees.

Bee Friendly Structures

  Bees get thirsty too. Especially when considering the long distances that they travel just to get food. You can create a bee bath for them to use. This very easy to do. Simply place some pebbles on a small basin with water. Bees will then land on these rocks to drink water.

Aside from honey bees, most bee species are creatures. Some live underground, while others make tree hollows their home. You can leave a small patch soil for bees to burrow. You can also build bee homes from pieces of wood with holes and bamboo.

Educate Yourself and Others

young girl smelling flowers

Do your own research and learn more about the multiple factors which have amplified the effects of colony collapse disorder. Learn more about local beekeeping methods and the best sustainable practices. You can also participate in community events about the importance of bees to our food resources. Educating the young is especially important as they will need to take care of the bee species in the future. Tell them that honeybees aren’t dangerous and teach them how to tell them apart from wasps.

Support Local Bee Products

harvested honey in jars

Buying honey, beeswax and other bee products from your local beekeepers keep the bee industry thriving. Going local is the best way to get raw, untreated honey. Farmer’s markets are your best source for getting the best quality honey. Some other bee products you can buy are candles, soaps and royal jelly. You can support by buying fruits and vegetables that are being pollinated by them.

Donate or Get Involved

You can also help by donating to organizations that aim to save bees. Most of them have a donate-a-hive program. Wherein through the donations you gave, they can build homes for bees across the country and help them survive, especially during the winter. Some of the organizations you can participate in are the Pollinator Partnership, The Great Sunflower Project and Honeybee Health Coalition.

Another way to directly get involved is to become your own beekeeper. Start with just a few hives and produce your own honey while also helping save the bees.

What is Colony Collapse Disorder?

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) ensues when the adult worker bee population vanishes and abandon the queen with only a few bees to take care of the young bees and some honey. While over the years, the number of identified cases of the phenomenon has declined, it is still considered a significant threat that affects even humans as bees help in agricultural production.

Identifying the Problem

CCD has been periodically observed as early as 1869, but during winter of ‘06-’07 losses of 50% have been reported. This was very unusual as there were no dead bees discovered, but the queen is left with an abundance of honey and her brood. The “collapse” is attributed to the unsustainability of the lack of worker bees in a colony, causing the remaining bees to perish. CCD is also a prevalent problem observed in Europe and Asia.

Possible Cause

Some pesticides can pose a risk to bees; that is why when using them, it is essential to check the label. Pesticide poisoning is another leading cause of bee mortality, but it is often confused with CCD. A heap of dead bees, usually observed in the case of pesticide poisoning, is absent for CCD.

Other Suspected Cause

  • Invasive mites, a parasite to honey bees
  • New Emerging Diseases and Pests
  • Modern Beekeeping Practices (Bee Rentals and Migratory Beekeeping)
  • Climate Change
  • Lack of Food/Poor Nutrition
  • Loss of Habitat
  • Absence of Genetic Diversity in Colonies
  • A combination of mentioned factors

How Does CCD Work?

The mechanisms for CCD is still currently unknown. However, scientists have identified a class of insecticide known as neonicotinoids to be highly toxic to bees. It is theorized that these chemicals affect bee development and behavior and create a compounding effect together with other factors leading to eventual colony collapse. These pesticides are believed to suppress the bees’ immune system making them more prone to pests and diseases. Another proposed effect is that it disrupts the pattern in which bees travel, resulting in them not returning to the hive. CCD Several sectors have been campaigning for the use of safer alternatives to these chemical compounds as chemical run-off is another threat to bee populations. However, its direct association with CCD hasn’t been proven yet.

Impact of CCD to Humans

Bees are essential pollinators of several agricultural plants such as squashes, watermelons, cashews, and almonds. They pollinate a third of the total crop species in the US. They are essential in commercial food production as wild insects are not reliable in pollinating vast areas of land. Many plants are primarily reliant on bees for pollination. Beekeeping has become an indispensable practice in modern agriculture. Thus, a decline in the bee population means a decrease in food production.

Countering the Collapse

The Department of Agriculture, together with the Environmental Protection Agency, has formed a task force to fight CCD. The government has employed environmental research and technology to combat the effects of CCD. Methods used include regular monitoring and data collection on bee farms, analysis of samples to combat pests and parasites. Preemptive research is also conducted to detect possible threats to the pollinators. Mitigating measures are also in place to improve bee survivability and habitat. These include studying the effects of pesticides to hive populations and repopulating the hive using mite-resistant bees. Beekeepers have been using more hives and queens for accounting for CCD and supplanting the population loss.

CCD may be a problem with complex causes. However, with scientific improvements and a decades-worth of information leading to an improved understanding of the phenomenon, we may be nearing a solution. You can do your part by planting wildflowers and refraining the use of pesticides.

How to Plant Wildflowers to Help Bees

Colony collapse disorder has been a problem affecting the US honeybee population for some time, new data show that there is a continuing downtrend. The suggested causes for these include a combination of factors such as pesticides, infections, habitat loss, climate change, malnutrition and change in beekeeping practices. Pesticides have been known to weaken bees, leaving them more susceptible to disease and parasites that otherwise would not affect them.

Humans have been continually replacing meadows with farms. Planting wildflowers during spring may help increase bee survival rate and mitigate the dwindling bee population. Bees are important not only because of their honey. They are also important to all sorts of food production such as apples, bananas, berries and more. This is because bees carry pollen from one flower to another. Pollen is what makes plants fertile. Without bees, food production would be significantly lower. Livestock also need food from crops which are pollinated by bees. Therefore, meat and dairy production are also affected.

The Power of Wildflowers

Gardens are sanctuaries for bees. Flowers attract not only bees but also all sorts of other insects such as butterflies and ladybugs. These pollinators improve crop yield and keep pest population such as aphids in control. Planting simple flowers allowing bees to get more food and collect more pollen. Single flowers such as daisies and marigolds have more nectar and allow for easier access of bees to pollen.

Finding What Works

Native insects have been known to favor native wildflowers. This makes sense as they have evolved closely with one another. Wildflowers are also relatively easy to maintain and are resistant to pests.

To find what flowers to plant consider your local climate and soil profile. Yarrows can thrive in sandy, drought-prone soil. While Primrose are more typically suited to clay-rich soils. You must research what wildflowers are accessible to you and are native to your region.

Some wildflowers need a lot of sunshine. Take this in consideration when choosing a spot for your wildflower garden. Consider whether the soil is wet or dry and if the flowers that you want can be planted in these conditions. Usually, well-drained soil works wonders for wildflowers.

Plant Year-Round

You should look into planting pollen-rich flowers that offer a range of blooming periods and flower shape. Spring is typically the time for flowers to bloom but some flowers can be planted in summer and autumn. Cosmos, Echinacea and Hosta should be planted for summer seasons. Chrysanthemum, pansy and heather all bloom in the autumn. Witch hazel, snowdrops and daffodils can be planted during late winter. Mixing and matching your wildflowers with the season takes care of the bee’s needs all year long.

Different species of bees also have different preferences in flowers. This mostly depends on flower shape, so it is best to plant a diversify the wildflowers present in your garden.

Choose Self-seeders

If you care for bees but want a low effort way to plant wildflowers, self-seeders are best for you. Poppies and hollyhocks drop their seeds on the ground allowing them to regrow with little to no help from you. Once planted, these plants will bloom a number of times for you. To start, you can simply scatter their seeds and rake the area. You can also plant seedlings in pots and transplant them eventually to the patch of land you want them to be.

Keep It Natural

An additional advantage of wildflowers is that they can flourish in partly shaded areas. Allowing them to be easily integrated into areas of your garden. You can plant them in areas which may be difficult to grow other plants.

Wildflowers are more suited as opposed to hybrid plants, as they have very little pollen for bees. Any kind of chemicals are likely to harm your soil. They kill your soil’s organisms. Earthworms and other creatures help your plants grow and improve the soil quality. Pesticides should also be avoided, as they can be toxic not only for bees but also people who will visit your garden. Insects such as spiders and ladybugs can take care of the pests. Some pesticides contain neonicotinoids which are especially harmful to bees.

Starting a wildflower garden would not only be a fun project for you. Your garden can also be a source of sustenance for bees and other creatures. Bees greatly help in the production of our food. And so, we must do our simple part in helping them thrive.