Honey, Propolis, Wax and More! Before we take a look at the bountiful products that bees share with us, let’s first break it down. What are honey bees, and what makes them so interesting? Honey bees are social insects with colonies including a queen, drones and workers. Honey bees produce honey as a food source, which they store in the hives and consume during the long winter months when there are no flowers blooming and there is no nectar around. In Uganda, we find honey bees making honey all year-round! What does this mean for us beekeepers? It means that there is so much potential for our local apiculture and agriculture industries. Of course, honey bees produce much more than honey. Other hive products include honeycomb, propolis, beeswax, royal jelly and bee venom. These are all essential products that are collected and used by people for various nutritional and medicinal purposes. In this article, we’ll be addressing what we harvest from bees here at Nahl Apiculture, and also dive a little deeper into what exactly these different products are. Honey Honey, honey, honey. It’s no coincidence that honey rhymes with MONEY. This valuable product is an organic, natural sugar alternative with no additives that is easy on the stomach. Beyond it’s antibacterial and antifungal properties that can be used from healing wounds to soothing a sore throat, honey is also excellent at adapting to all cooking processes. The best part? Honey doesn’t go bad! The indefinite shelf-life is a powerful feature of honey that sets it apart from regular artificial sweeteners. Propolis This is basically what bees use to build their hives. By mixing their saliva with the sap from trees, bees are able to generate the indestructible propolis to help seal holes and cracks in the construction of their hives. For us humans, propolis can be used to treat a wide range of diseases such as diabetes, cold, sores, and swelling (inflammation). Due to its antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral & antibacterial properties, natural propolis remedies have seen a surge in demand increase. Beeswax Minding our own beeswax here at Nahl Apiculture means understanding the benefits of all the different products that honey bees have to share with us. Bees mix pollen oils into white honeycomb wax, which turns the white wax into a yellow or brown color. The applications of beeswax in medicine can be found to treat cholesterol, pain, fungal skin infections, and other conditions. Interesting fact! Bees make wax through the wax glands underneath their abdomens. The way us humans sweat salt based fluids is the same way honeybees sweat out beeswax! Making that wax however, consumes twice the amount of energy the bees would use to make honey! Hence, this is the reason 100 grams of beeswax can hold up to 1000grams of honey! At Nahl Apiculture, we use beeswax to make high quality candles infused with an array of essential oils. Royal Jelly This product gets its name from the fact that bees use it to nurture queen bees and their young. Evidently, it’s a special product made from mixing honey with pollen! With a gelatinous consistency, royal jelly has antibacterial and antifungal properties, since it’s the stuff developing bees that float in until they metamorphose. For this reason, there are many proven positive effects of using royal jelly to treat cholesterol, induce insulin-like action, and even for those going through menopause! Venom The final product on our list is also the most interesting. Bees excrete venom through their stingers on their targets when they feel threatened. Almost all of us have at one point in our childhoods encountered the painful sting of a bee. Some fear it, and rightfully so! While there are those who have allergic reactions to the venom in bees, it is also extremely rich in both anti-inflammatory and inflammatory compounds, including enzymes, sugars, minerals, and amino acids. It may reduce arthritis-related symptoms, benefit skin health and immune health. Bee venom comes in several styles; it’s harvested in a crystal form & then mixed with other products, like honey, to acquire the health benefits So yes, it is understandable that people may think that bees only produce honey. The truth is that there are so many more valued products we can get from honey bees. Stay tuned for our “Apiculture 101” course where we will be going into more depth about the different products and how we extract them here at Nahl Apiculture. Get in touch, follow us on all socials, and support your local beekeepers by purchasing bee products to use around the house!