About Honey & Bees

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Honey and Bees

Why do some honeys have different colors and flavors?
The color and flavor of honey differ depending on the bees’ nectar source (the flower blossoms from clover, wildflowers, fruit trees and more).  As a general rule, lighter colored honeys are usually more mild and sweeter in flavor, while darker honeys are usually more robust in flavor.  For example, in Illinois the “spring honey” is usually lighter due to the types of flowers that bloom in the springtime. The “fall honey” is darker and bolder in flavor because of the flower nectar that is available in mid-summer and early fall.

Can local honey be used for allergy relief?
Honey is used by many for allergy relief because it is believed that the pollen spores in the honey can help build immunity. Local honey is a good choice since the varieties of flowering plants and grasses giving the allergy sufferer trouble are the same kinds the local bees are including in the honey they produce.

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Are there antioxidants in honey? 
Honey contains a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, scavenging and eliminating free radicals. Generally, darker honeys have higher antioxidant content than lighter honeys.

Can I bake / cook with honey?

Honey can be used in breads, desserts, sauces and much more. It can also be used as a substitute for equal amounts of granulated sugar in many recipes. General rules for baked goods include: 1) to substitute honey for up to 1/2 of the sugar called for, 2) to reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup per each cup of honey used, 3) to add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per each cup of honey, and 4) reduce the directed oven temperature by 25 degrees F.  Click here to view some recipes that use honey.

Does Honey Go Bad?

Honey can last for a long time…even at room temperature. Actually it is recommended that honey be stored at room temperature in a kitchen cabinet, on a counter, on a table, etc. After awhile, the honey may crystallize but it is still good to use. (Keeping honey in a refrigerator may cause it to crystallize faster.)
If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Or, place the honey in a microwave-safe container with the lid off and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve. Be careful not to boil or scorch the honey. Also, you can eat the crystallized honey. You can spread it on your toast or biscuits and add it to your tea.

How long do bees live?
Queen bees can live for around 5 years and worker bees usually live about 6 months.

How many bees are in a hive?
A hive can have approximately 80,000 bees during the main honey producing period and then go down to around 1,000 bees in the wintertime.

How do bees deal with hot or cold temperatures?

Bees use their wings and body temperatures to continually keep the internal temperature of the hive around 90 to 92 degrees F.

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