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Fun Fact January 16, 2020

16 January 2020


Honey never spoils.  When sealed in an airtight container, honey is one of the few foods known to have an eternal shelf life. There are even reports of edible honey being found in several-thousand-year-old Egyptian tombs. The chemical make up explains honey’s longevity.  The substance is naturally acidic and low in moisture, making it an inhospitable environment for bacteria.   Bees work hard to create this magical sweet substance with these magical properties. While transforming nectar, honey’s main ingredient, into honey, bees flap their wings so hard that they draw excess moisture out of the initially water-filled substance. Bees also have a special enzyme in their stomachs that helps to break the nectar down into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide acts to further prevent the growth of bacteria and other organisms in the honey.  A typical beehive can produce anywhere from 35 to 100 pounds of honey a year. To make a single pound of honey, a colony of bees must collect nectar from approximately 2 million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles. This amounts to a lifetime’s worth of work for around 800 bees.   Bees work hard all summer to ensure they’ll have enough honey to sustain the hive through the winter. During the colder months, bees occupy their time by clustering themselves around the queen and shivering their bodies to fill the hive with warmth. All that shivering burns a lot of calories, so honey makes for the perfect high-energy diet.  On average, a honey bee produces 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey over the course of its life. To put that into perspective, two tablespoons of honey would be enough to fuel a bee’s entire flight around the world.


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