We all know honey, we all know it is made by bees and is a food with formidable nutritional and healing properties. But are you sure you know what honey really is? Do we know how and why it is produced? A journey into the world of honey is a fascinating journey that reveals to us how nature has created a perfect mechanism that involves all living beings. A bee and a flower are enough and the magic of life is served.
What honey is?
Honey is a substance developed by honey bees based on flower nectar or honeydew. The first information that can be obtained from these few words are already very important:
1. Honey is produced exclusively by bees (the product of other insects has very different characteristics from honey and can not be considered as such)
2. Honey is obtained only from the nectar of flowers or honeydew, all other sugary substances can not be used by bees to produce honey
But what is nectar and what is honeydew?
The pollen of flowers is the fertilizing element of plants. In order to fulfill its function, the pollen must pass from one flower to another and to do so it needs the precious help of insects. And why should an insect ever rest on a flower? Mother nature thought of this, giving flowers the nectar.
Nectar is a sugary substance that plants produce to attract insects. Each flower has a different nectar that is why there are many varieties of honey.
Honeydew, is the sap of plants, even this sugary that is the main nourishment of many insects such as aphids and cochineals. The bees, however, do not throw anything and what is used by the other insects as nourishment is taken and transformed into honey.
How and why do bees make honey?
Honey is a reserve food. In practice it is a supply of food for the winter. In fact, the bees feed on the nectar of the flowers, but when they do not have fresh ones available, they draw on the honey they produced.
Some bees, those who have completed 21 days of life, are the bees that come out of the hive and go to take the nectar. When they return to the hive they pass the nectar drop to the storing bees that pass between them for 15-20 min to ensure that the collected nectar is enriched with enzyme-rich glandular secretions.
In this phase, moreover, inside the hive, the ventilating bees flap their wings to circulate the air and heat it. This favors the dehydration of the nectar that loses most of its water. After that it is deposited in the honeycomb that was built by the wax-producing bees and they are these same bees that close the cell with their wax. After a few days the percentage of nectar water will drop below 18%t and the honey will be ready.
The honey at Podere il Casale was one of the first real great passions. We pay great care and great respect to our hives and over time we have helped our bees to produce a honey of great quality. Today we produce four different types of honey: ivy, honeysuckle, millefiori and sunflower. Are not you curious to taste them?