Honey produced from ling heather (calluna
sp) is thixotropic and has a gel-like consistency. To remove this from the combs usually
involves putting the comb through a heather honey press. Bell heather species do not
have this problem.
The younger bees consume
large amounts of honey and slowly excrete, through productive glands slivers
of wax (generally pinhead size). The other bees harvest the wax and use it in the
construction of cells or for capping off the cells in other parts of the hive.
Although there are many synthetic substitutes for wax, the composition of bee’s wax cannot be
duplicated making it very valuable. It is also used by many tradesmen. It is used for
cosmetics, candle making, furniture polish, and for
the up keep of musical instruments.
This is the food fed to the larvae at the beginning of their development, apart
from the queen who is fed this substance throughout her larval stage. The worker bees produce it
in their mouth glands. It is very expensive because only small
amounts can be gathered from a hive. Royal jelly is considered to be a healthy delicacy.
This substance is like a resin, it is
collected from trees and plants by the bees and upon returning to the hive, is mixed with wax.
It is then used for sealing cracks or used for defensive purposes. It has
anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and has been used by man for
hundreds of years.
The resin is made up of about 50% resin, 30%
wax, 10% essential oils and 5% pollen. It is considered to be a natural
antibiotic and medical research has begun trying to reveal the secrets of propolis.
This is used in the Far East and Eastern
Europe and is thought to help rheumatic diseases, arthritis, multiple sclerosis
and other illnesses, but care must be taken because people can suffer from a
dangerous reaction to bee stings due to an allergy (and hence go into anaphylactic shock).
Use of bee venom is not recommended unless monitored by a Doctor or Apitherapist,
although anecdotal evidence suggests that very few beekeepers suffer from arthritis or rheumatism.
Russian scientists are carrying out tests using bee venom on bone joints as a therapy.