Honey is a sweet aliment produced by honey bees (and some other species)[1] and derived from the nectar of flowers. According to the United States National Honey Board and various international food regulations, “honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance…this includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners”.[2] This article refers exclusively to the honey produced by honey bees (the genus Apis); honey produced by other bees or other insects has very different properties.

[spoiler] Blended

Most commercially available honey is blended, meaning that it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin.

Polyfloral

Polyfloral honey, also known as wildflower honey, is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers. The taste may vary from year to year, and the aroma and the flavor can be more or less intense, depending on which bloomings are prevalent.

Monofloral

Monofloral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower. Different monofloral honeys have a distinctive flavor and color because of differences between their principal nectar sources. In order to produce monofloral honey beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower. In practice, because of the difficulties in containing bees, a small proportion of any honey will be from additional nectar from other flower types. Typical examples of North American monofloral honeys are clover, orange blossom, sage, eucalyptus, tupelo, manuka, buckwheat, and sourwood. Some typical European examples include thyme, thistle, heather, acacia, dandelion, sunflower, honeysuckle, and varieties from lime and chestnut trees. In North Africa, such as Egypt, examples include clover, cotton, and citrus, mainly orange blossoms.

Honeydew honey

Instead of taking nectar, bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects.Honeydew honey is very dark brown in color, with a rich fragrance of stewed fruit or fig jam and is not as sweet as nectar honeys.[28] Germany’s Black Forest is a well known source of honeydew-based honeys, as well as some regions in Bulgaria. In Greece, pine honey (a type of honeydew honey) constitutes 60-65% of the annual honey production.[29] Honeydew honey is popular in some areas, but in other areas beekeepers have difficulty selling the stronger flavored product. The production of honeydew honey has some complications and dangers. The honey has a much larger proportion of indigestibles than light floral honeys, which can cause dysentery to the bees, resulting in the death of colonies in areas with cold winters. Good beekeeping management requires the removal of honeydew prior to winter in colder areas. Bees collecting this resource also have to be fed protein supplements, as honeydew lacks the protein-rich pollen accompaniment gathered from flowers.

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