Bees produce honey from nectar, which is formed in the flowers of blooming plants. Nectar is a dilute liquid containing sugar, which attracts bees and other insects to the flowers. Bees thicken the dilute nectar, transform and turn it into honey.
Bees collect other sweet, sugar containing liquids as well, for example the so called honeydew. This is a sweet secretion produced by parasitic insects and plant-louse with high sugar content.
It is worth mentioning that honey has a beneficial effect on our health and performance. The kinds of sugar that honey contains do not have a fattening effect. It also contains a disinfecting substance which prevents dental decay.
Beeswax is secreted by honeybees from their wax glands to build honey comb cells in which the young are raised and honey and pollen are stored.
Wax is an utterly valuable substance. Apiary itself uses the most of it since a lot of artificial honey comb cells are required. Besides, the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, paper and leather industry also uses beeswax. Moreover, candles can be also made from it.
Pollen is the male reproductive cell body produced by anthers of flowers. It has been among the apiarian products for only a few decades. Before it was only used for feeding bees. Bees put the gathered pollen into the honey comb cells, temp it, add honey to it and ensile it (lactic acid fermentation).
This partially fermented pollen mixture is also referred to as “beebread” and is the food given to honeybee larvae and eaten by young worker bees to produce royal jelly. Its most significant feature is its colour. Yellow and its shades are the most common, however, it also appears in all colours of the rainbow, from white to green, to blue, to brown, even to deep green almost black.
For human ingestion it is preserved by freezing or dehydration.
It is a highly nutritious glandular secretion of young bees, used to feed the queen and the young until they develop into the desired rank. If a queen is desired the larva receives only royal jelly as its food source. It is a yellowish-whitish acidic secretion, with a slightly sweet odour.
Propolis is used by bees for gluing, sealing and disinfection. It has a distinct resinous odour. Depending on the temperature it is either solid or tensile. Bees collect this sticky resin from the buds and barks of some trees all year round. Its colour ranges from golden brown to brownish green, to reddish brown, to blackish brown. Bees blend propolis with the substance secreted from special glands on their abdomens.
Propolis is another medicinal marvel from the beehive.
It is an acidic limpid substance with a distinct odour. The poison is secreted by special glands attached to the stinger, through which the venom gets into the body of the victim. For bees this venom is lethal. However, it is possible to get used to the poison, therefore, apiarists become resistant to the bee venom and their stings do not or only slightly swell.
Bee venom is also known in the medical world and used for some rheumatic and neuralgic troubles.