Honey is a sweet and viscous substance made by bees, the best-known of which are honey bees.

Honey is a natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of plants. 

It is composed primarily of fructose, glucose, and water, and it also contains trace amounts of several other compounds. 

Honey has been used for centuries as a sweetener and for its perceived health benefits. 

It has antimicrobial properties and is often used in traditional medicine for its potential healing properties. 

Ig comes in various flavors and colors depending on the plant source, and it has a long shelf life due to its low moisture content and acidic pH.

It is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honeybees and some related insects. 

The variety produced by honeybees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers. 

Honey is comprised of mainly fructose and glucose, and it offers a range of health benefits, such as serving as a natural energy source and containing antioxidants. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties and can be used as a natural remedy for certain ailments.

Honey is made and stored to nourish bee colonies. 

Bees produce honey by gathering and then refining the sugary secretions of plants floral nectar or the secretions of other insects, like the honeydew of aphids.

Refining takes place both through bee regurgitation and enzymatic activity, and during storage in the hive, through water evaporation that concentrates the honey’s sugars until it is thick and viscous.

Honey bees stockpile honey in a hive. 

The hive is a structure made from wax called honeycomb. 

The honeycomb is made up of hundreds or thousands of hexagonal cells, into which the bees regurgitate honey for storage. 

Honey for human consumption is collected from bee colonies, or from the hives of domesticated bees. 

Honey is sweet due its high concentrations of the monosaccharides fructose and glucose. 

It has about the same relative sweetness as sucrose (table sugar).

A tablespoon (15 cc) of honey provides around 190 kilojoules (46 kilocalories) of food energy.

Its chemical properties make it appealing for baking and it has a distinctive flavor when used as a sweetener.

Most microorganisms cannot grow in honey and sealed honey does not spoil.

Honey is produced by bees who have collected nectar or honeydew. 

Bees value honey for its sugars.

The honey consumed supports metabolic activity, especially that of their flight muscles during foraging, and as a food for their larvae. 

Stockpiled honey provides for foraging as well as during lean periods, as in overwintering.

During foraging bees use part of the nectar they collect to power their flight muscles. 

The majority of nectar collected is not used to directly nourish the insects but is destined for regurgitation, enzymatic digestion, and finally long-term storage as honey.

During cold weather or when other food sources are scarce, adult and larval bees consume stored honey, which is many times as energy-dense as the nectar from which it is made.

In Apis mellifera the honey stomach holds about 40 mg of liquid, which is about half the weight of an unladen bee. 

Collecting this quantity in nectar can require visits to more than a thousand flowers. 

When nectar is plentiful it can take a bee more than an hour of ceaseless work to collect enough nectar to fill its honey crop. 

Salivary enzymes and proteins from the bee’s hypopharyngeal gland are secreted into the nectar once it is in the bee’s honey stomach. 

Salivary enzymes and proteins cleave complex sugars like sucrose and starches into simpler sugars such as glucose and fructose, slightly raises the water content and the acidity of the partially digested nectar.

The forager bees then return to the hive where they regurgitate and transfer nectar to hive bees. 

Once in their own honey stomachs the hive bees regurgitate the nectar, repeatedly forming bubbles between their mandibles, speeding its digestion.

These bubbles create a large surface area per volume and by this means the bees evaporate a portion of the nectar’s water into the warm air of the hive.

Hive bees form honey processing groups, with one bee subjecting the processed nectar to bubbling and then passing the refined liquid on to others, with continuous regurgitation, digestion and evaporation until the product reaches storage quality.

The new honey is then placed in honeycomb cells.

Bees are among the few insects that can create large amounts of body heat, and can produce a constant ambient temperature in their hives. 

This temperature is regulated either by generating heat with their bodies or removing it through water evaporation,and bees use their wings to govern hive cooling. 

Ventilation of the hive eventually expels both excess water and heat into the outside world.

The process of evaporating continues until the honey reaches its final water content of between 15.5% to 18%.

Such high concentrations of sugar are extremely unfavorable to microbiological reproduction and all fermentation is consequently halted,

The bees then cap the cells of finished honey with wax,  sealing them from contamination and prevents further evaporation.

Honey has an indefinite shelf life, both within the hive and after its removal by a beekeeper.

Honey is collected from wild bee colonies or from domesticated beehives. 

On average, a hive will produce about 29 kilograms (65 lb) of honey per year.

To safely collect honey from a hive, beekeepers typically pacify the bees using a bee smoker, triggering a feeding instinct making them less aggressive, and obscures the pheromones the bees use to communicate. 

The honeycomb is removed from the hive and the honey may be extracted from it either by crushing or by using a honey extractor. 

Honey is suitable for long-term storage.

The main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, desserts, as a spread on bread, as an addition to various beverages such as tea, and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages.

Honey is an important food for virtually all hunter-gatherer cultures in warm climates.

Fresh honey is a supersaturated liquid, containing more sugar than the water can typically dissolve at ambient temperatures. 

At room temperature, honey’s glucose precipitates into solid granules, forming a semisolid solution of precipitated glucose crystals in a solution of fructose and other ingredients.

Crystallization rate is also affected by water content, and temperature.

Crystal nuclei tend to form more readily if the honey is disturbed, by stirring, shaking, or agitating, rather than if left at rest. 

The viscosity of honey is affected greatly by both temperature and water content. 

The higher the water percentage, the more easily honey flows. 

Honey has the ability to absorb moisture directly from the air ( hygroscopy).

Because honey contains yeast, itshygroscopic nature requires that honey be stored in sealed containers to prevent fermentation, which usually begins if the honey’s water content rises much above 25%. 

Fermentation of honey usually occurs after crystallization.

Honey that is to be stored at room temperature for long periods of time is often pasteurized, to kill any yeast.

Honey caramelizes if heated sufficiently, becomes darker in color, and eventually burns. 

Honey contains fructose, which caramelizes at lower temperatures than glucose.

Honey from different plant sources contain over 100 volatile organic compounds which play a primary role in determining honey flavors and aromas.

Most commercially available honey is a blend of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density, or geographic origin.


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)


1,272 kJ (304 kcal)


82.4 g


82.12 g

Dietary fiber

0.2 g


0 g


0.3 g


Quantity %DV†

Riboflavin (B2)

3% 0.038 mg

Niacin (B3)

1% 0.121 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

1% 0.068 mg

Vitamin B6

2% 0.024 mg

Folate (B9)

1% 2 μg

Vitamin C

1% 0.5 mg


Quantity %DV†


1% 6 mg


3% 0.42 mg


1% 2 mg


1% 4 mg


1% 52 mg


0% 4 mg


2% 0.22 mg

Other constituents



17.10 g

One hundred grams of honey provides about 1,270 kJ (304 kcal) of energy with no significant amounts of essential nutrients.

Composed of 17% water and 82% carbohydrates, honey has low content of fat, dietary fiber, and protein.

Honey is mainly fructose (about 38%) and glucose (about 32%).

The remaining sugars including maltose, sucrose, and other complex carbohydrates.

Honey’s glycemic index ranges from 31 to 78, depending on the variety.

Honey aids in the healing of partial thickness burns 4–5 days faster than other dressings.

Evidence exists that post-operative infections treated with honey heal faster and with fewer adverse events than with antiseptic and gauze.

The evidence for the use of honey in various other wound treatments is of low quality.

Honey has broad-spectrum antibacterial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

A Cochrane review found no strong evidence for or against the use of honey for cough.

Some reviews have also supported the use of honey for treating children.

The majority of calories in honey are from fructose.

Honey has a mild laxative effect which has been noted as being helpful in alleviating constipation and bloating.

Honey is generally safe when taken in typical food amounts.

Its-potential adverse effects: mild reactions to high intake, such as anxiety, insomnia, or hyperactivity in about 10% of children, according to one study, may interact adversely with existing allergies, high blood sugar levels in diabetes, anticoagulants used to control bleeding, people who have a weakened immune system may be at risk of bacterial or fungal infection from eating honey.

Infants can develop botulism after consuming honey contaminated with Clostridium botulinum endospores.

Mad honey intoxication is a result of eating honey containing grayanotoxins.

Honey produced from flowers of rhododendrons, mountain laurels, sheep laurel, and azaleas may cause honey intoxication: Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, nausea, and vomiting, low blood pressure, shock, heart rhythm irregularities, and convulsions may occur, with rare cases resulting in death. 

Commercial processing, with pooling of honey from numerous sources, is thought to dilute any toxins.

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