Honey

bees flowers sugar nectar water trees obtained means hive found

HONEY (Chin., me ; Sansk., nzadhu, mead, honey, - cf. A. S., medo, medu, mead ; Greek, /Lac, in which 0 or 8 is changed into A; Lat., nzel; Fr., miel; A. S.,Itunig; Germ., Honig),1 a sweet viscid liquid, obtained by bees chiefly from the nectaries of flowers, i.e., those parts of flowers specially constructed for the elaboration of honey (see BOTANY, vol. iv. p. 134), and after transportation to the hive in the proventriculus or crop of the insects, discharged by them into the cells prepared. for its reception. Whether the nectar undergoes any alteration within the crop of the bee is a point on which authors have differed. Some wasps, e.g., Hyrapetra seutellaris 2 and the genus Nectarina, collect honey. A honey-like fluid, which consists of a nearly pure solution of uncrystallizable sugar having the formula 0H1407 after drying in vacno, and which is used by the Mexicans in the preparation of a beverage, is yielded by certain inactive individuals of .1i.yrmecocystus mexicanus, Wesmael, the honey-ants or pouched ants (horinigas mieleras or mochileras) of Mexico.3 The abdomen in these insects, owing to the distensibility of the membrane connecting its segments, becomes converted into a globular thin-walled sac by the accumulation within it of the nectar supplied to them by their working comrades (Wesmael, Bull. de l'Acad. Roy. de Britx., v. 766, 1S38). By the Rev. H. C. M'Cook, who discovered the insect in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado, the honey-bearers were found banging by their feet, in groups of about thirty, to the roofs of special chambers in their underground nests, their large globular abdomens causing them to resemble " bunches of small Delaware grapes" (Proc. Acad. Kat. AS"c-i. Philacl., 1879, p. 197). A bladder-like formation on the metathorax of another ant, Crentatogaster inflates (F. Smith, Cat. of Hyntenopteret, pt. vi. pp. 136 and 200, pl. ix. fig. 1), which has a small eircultr orifice at each posterior lateral angle, appears to possess a function similar to that of the abdomen in the honey-ant.

It is a popular saying that where is the best honey there also is the best wool ; and a pastoral district, since it affords a greater profusion of flowers, is superior for the production of honey to one under tillage.4 Dry warm weather is that most favourable to the secretion of nectar by flowers. This they protect from rain by various internal structures, such as papi.11, cushions of hairs, and spurs, or by virtue of their position (in the raspberry, drooping), or the arrangement of their constituent parts. Dr A. W. Bennett (How Flowers are Fertilized, p. 31, 1873) has remarked that the perfume of flowers is generally derived from their nectar ; the blossoms of some plants, however, as ivy and holly, though almost scentless, are highly nectariferous. The exudation of a honey-like or saccharine fluid, as has frequently been attested, is not a function exclusively of the flowers in all plants. A. sweet material, the in tona of pharmacy, e.g., is produced by the leaves and stems of a species of ash, Fran:nits Ornus ; and honey-secreting glands are to be met with on the leaves, petioles, phyllodes, stipules (as in Vicia sativa), or bractece (as in the Marcgraviacetc) of a considerable number of different vegetable forms. The origin of the honey-yielding properties manifested specially by flowers among the several parts of plants has been carefully considered by Darwin, who regards the saccharine matter in nectar as a waste product of chemical changes in the sap, which, when it happened to be excreted within the envelopes of flowers, was utilized for the important object of cross-fertilization, and sub • sequently was much increased in quantity, and stored in various ways (see Cross and Self Fertilization of Plants, p, 402 sq., 1876). It has been noted with respect to the nectar of the fuchsia that it is most abundant when the anthers are about to dehisce, and absent in the unexpended flower.

Pettigrew is of opinion that few bees go more than two miles from home in search of honey. The number of blossoms visited in order to meet the requirements of a single hive of bees must be very great ; for it has been found by A. S. Wilson (" On the Nectar of Flowers," Brit. Assoc. _Rev., 1878, p. 567) that 125 heads of common red clover, which is a plant comparatively abundant in nectar, yield but one gramme (15'132 grains) of sugar ; and as each head contains about 60 florets, 7,500,000 distinct llower-tnbcs must on this estimate be exhausted for each kilogramme (2.201 lb) of sugar collected. Among the richer sources of honey are reckoned the apple, asparagus, asters, barberry, basswood (Tilia americana), and the European lime or linden (T. europrza), beans, boncsets (Eupatorium), homage, broom, buckwheat, catnip, or catmint (Nepeta Cataria), cherry, cleome, clover, cotton, crocus, currant, dandelion, eucalyptus, figwort (Scrophularia), furze, golden-rod (Solidago), gooseberry, hawthorn, heather, hepatica, horehound, hyacinth, lucerne, maple, mignonette, mint, motherwort (Leonnrus), mustard, onion, peach, pear, poplar, quince, rape, raspberry, sage, silver maple, snapdragon, sour-wood. (Oxydend•on, arboreum, D. O.), strawberry, sycamore, teasel, thyme, tulip-tree (more especially rich in pollen), turnip, violet, and willows, and the " honey-dew " of the leaves of the whitethorn. (Bonner), oak, linden, beech, and some other trees.

Honey contains dextroglucose and kevoglucose (the former practically insoluble, the latter soluble in :81- pt. of cold strong alcohol), cane-sugar (according to sonic), mucilage, water, wax, essential oil, colouring bodies, a minute quantity of mineral matter, and pollen. By a species of fermentation, the cane-sugar is said to be gradually transformed into inverted sugar (Imvoglucose with dextroglucose). The pollen, as a source of nitrogen, is of importance to the bees feeding on the honey. It may be obtained for examination as a sediment from a mixture of honey and water. Other substances which have been discovered in honey are mannite (Guibourt), a free acid which precipitates the salts of silver and of lead, and is soluble in water and alcohol (Calloux), and an uncrystallizable sugar, nearly related to inverted sugar (Sonbeiran, Compt. Rend., xxviii. 774-75, 1849). Brittany honey contains couvain, a ferment which determines its active decomposition (Wurtz, Diet. de Client., ii. 430). In the honey of Polybia apicipennis, a wasp of tropical America, cane-sugar occurs in crystals of large size (Karsten, Fogy. Ann., C. 550). Dr J. Campbell Brown (" On the Composition of Honey," Analyst, iii. 267, 1878) is doubtful as to the presence of cane-sugar in any one of nine samples, from various sources, examined by him. Time following average percentage numbers are afforded by his analyses : - hevulose, 36.15 ; dextrose, 36.57 ; mineral matter, •15 ; water expelled at 100° C., 18.5, and at a much higher temperature, with loss, 7'81: the wax, pollen, and insoluble matter vary from a trace to 2.1 per cent. The specific gravity of honey is about 1.41. The rotation of a polarized ray by a solution of 16.26 grammes of crude honey in 100 c.c. of water is generally from - 3.2° to - 5° at 60° F. ; in the case of Greek honey it is nearly - 5.5°. Almost all pure honey, when exposed for some time to light and cold, becomes more or less granular in consistency. Any liquid portion can be readily separated by straining through linen. Honey sold out of the comb is commonly clarified by heating and skimming ; but according to Bonner it is always best in its natural state. The mel depuratum of British pharmacy is prepared by heating honey in a water-bath, and straining through flannel previously moistened with warm water.

The term " virgin-honey " (A.-S., hunigtear) is applied to the honey of young bees which have never swarmed, or to that which flows spontaneously from honeycomb with or without the application of heat. The honey obtained from old hives, considered inferior to it in quality, is ordinarily darker, thicker, and less pleasant in taste and odour. The yield of honey is less in proportion to weight in old than in young or virgin combs. The far-famed honey of Narbonne is white, very granular, and highly aromatic ; and still finer honey is that procured from the Corbieres mountains, 6 to 9 miles to the south-west. The honey of Gdtinais is usually white, and is less odorous, and granulates less readily than that of Narbonne. Honey- from white clover has a greenish-white, and that from heather a rich gulden-yellow hue. What is made from honey-dew is dark in colour, and disagreeable to the palate, and does not candy like good honey. " We have seen aphide honey from syca• mores," says F. Cheshire (Frac!. Bee-Keept'ng, p. 74), " as deep in tone as walnut liquor, and where much of it is stored the value of the whole crop is practically nil." The honey of the stingless bees (Melipona and Trigona) of Brazil varies greatly in quality according to the species of flowers from which it is collected, some kinds being black and sour, and others excellent (F. Smith, Trans. Ent. Soc., 3d ser., i. pt. vi., 1863). That of Apis Peronii, of India and Timor, is yellow, and of very agreeable flavour, and is more liquid than the British sorts. A. unicolor, a bee indigenous to Madagascar, and naturalized in Mauritius and the island of Reunion, furnishes a thick and syrupy, peculiarly scented green honey, highly esteemed in Western India. A rose-coloured honey is stated (Card. Citron., 1870, p. 1698) to have been procured by artificial feeding. The fine aroma of Maltese honey is due to its collection from orange blossoms. Narbonne honey being harvested chiefly from Labiate plants, as rosemary, an imitation of it is sometimes prepared by flavouring ordinary honey with infusion of rosemary flowers.

Adulterations of honey are starch, detectable by the microscope, and by its blue reaction with iodine, also wheaten flour, gelatin, chalk, gypsum, pipe-clay, added water, cane-sugar, and common syrup, and the different varieties of manufactured glucose. Honey sophisticated with glucose containing copperas as an impurity is turned of an inky colour by liquids containing tannin, as tea. Elm leaves have been used in America for the flavouring of imitation honey. Stone jars should be employed in preference to common earthenware for the storage of honey, which acts upon the lead glaze of the latter.

Honey is mildly laxative in properties. Some few kinds are poisonous, as frequently the reddish honey stored by the Brazilian wasp Vectarina (Polistes, Latr.l) Lechegvana, Shuck., the effects of which have been vividly described by Aug. de Saint-Hilaire,2 the spring honey of the wild bees of East Nepaul, said to be rendered noxious by collection from rhododendron flowers (Hooker, Himalayan Journals, i. 190, ed. 1855), and the honey of Trebizond, which from its source, the blossoms, it is stated, of Azalea politica and Rhododendron ponticom (perhaps to be identified with Pliny's yEyotethron), acquires the qualities of an irritant and intoxicant narcotic, as described by Xenophon (Ahab., iv. 8). Pliny (Vat. Mist., xxi. 45) describes as noxious a livid-coloured honey found in Persia and Gictulia. Honey obtained from lialmia latifolia, L., the calico bush, mountain laurel, or spoon-wood of the northern United States, and allied species, is reputed deleterious ; also that of the sour-wood is by some good authorities considered to possess undeniable griping properties; and G. Bidie (Madras Quart. J02011. Med. tS'ci., Oct. 1861, p. 399) mentions urtication, headache, extreme prostration and nausea, and intense thirst among the symptoms produced by a small quantity only of a honey from Coorg jungle. A South African species of Eupkorbict, as was experienced by the missionary Moffat (Miss. Lab., p. 32, 1846), yields a poisonous honey.

The nectar of certain flowers is asserted to cause even in bees a fatal kind of vertigo. As a demulcent and flavouring agent, honey is employed in the oxymel, oxymel and after the fermentation a small quantity of brandy. Metheglin, or hydromel, is manufactured by fermenting with yeast a solution of honey flavoured with boiled hops (see Cooley, Cyclop.). A kind of mead is largely consumed in Abyssinia (vol. i. p. 64), where it is carried on journeys in large horns (Stern, Wanderings, p. 317, 1862). In Russia a drink termed lipetz is made from the delicious honey of the linden. The muisum of the ancient Romans consisted of honey, wine, and water boiled together. The clarre, or piment, of Chaucer's time was wine mixed with honey and spices, and strained till clear ; a similar drink was bracket, made with wort of ale instead of wine. L. Maurial (L'Insectologie Agricole for 1868, p. 206) reports unfavourably as to the use of honey for the production of alcohol ; he recommends it, however, as superior to sugar for the thickening of liqueurs, and also as a means of sweetening imperfectly ripened vintages. It is occasionally employed for giving strength and flavour to ale. In ancient Egypt it was valued as an embalming material ; and in the East, for the preservation of fruit, and the making of cakes, sweetmeats, and other articles of food, it is largely consumed. Grafts, seeds, and birds' eggs, for transmission to great distances, are sometimes packed in honey. In India a mixture of honey and milk, or of equal parts of curds, honey, and clarified butter (Sansk., madhtt-parka), is a respectful offering to a guest, or to a bridegroom on his arrival at the door of the bride's father ; and one of the purificatory ceremonies of the Hindus (Sansk., madhu-prasana) is the placing of a little honey in the mouth of a new-born male infant. Honey is frequently alluded to by the writers of antiquity as food for children ; it is not to this, however, as already mentioned, with the Arabs.

Among the observances at the Fandroana, or New Year's Festival, iu Madagascar, is the eating of mingled rice and honey by the queen and her guests ; in the same country to the sun.

The Hebrew word translated "honey" in the authorized version of the English Bible is debask, practically synonymous with which are ja'ar or jda•ilh had-debash (1 Sam. xix. 25-27; cf. Cant. v. 1) and nopheth (Ps. xix. 10, Le.), rendered "honey-comb." Dcbash denotes bee-honey (as in Dent. xxxii. 13, and Jud. xiv. 8); the manna of trees, by some writers considered to have been the " wild honey " eaten by John the Baptist (Matt. iii. 4); the syrup of dates or the fruits themselves; and probably in some passages (as Gen. x13ii. 11 and Ez. xxvii. 17) the syrupy boiled juice of the grape, resembling thin molasses, in use in Palestine, especially at Hebron, under the name of dibs (see Kitto, Cyclop., and E. Robinson, Bill. Res., ii. 81). Josephus (B. J., iv. 8, 3) speAks highly of a honey produced at Jericho, consisting of the expressed juice of the fruit of palm trees; and Herodotus (iv. 194) mentions a similar preparation made by the Cyzantians in North Africa, where it is still in use. The honey most esteemed by the ancients was that of Mount Hybla in Sicily, and of Mount Hymettus in Attica (vol. iii. p. 59). Mahaffy (Rambles in Greece, p. 118, 2d ed., 1878) describes the honey of Hymettus as by no means so good as the produce of other parts of Greece - not to say of the heather hills of Scotland and Ireland. That of Thebes, and more especially that of Corinth, which is made in the thymy hills towards Cleome, he found much better (cf. vol. xi. p. 8S). Honey and wax, still largely obtained in Corsica (vol. vi. p. 440), were iu olden times the chief productions of the island. In England, in the 13th and 14th centuries, honey sold at front about 7d. to Is. 2d. a gallon, and occasionally was disposed of by the swarm or hive, or ruscha (Rogers, Mist. of Agric. and Prices in Eng., i. 418). At Wrexham, Denbigh, Wales, two honey fairs are annually held, the one on the Thursday next after the 1st Septembe., and the other, the more recently instituted and by far the larger, on the Thursday following the first Wednesday in October. In Hungary the amounts of honey and of wax are in favourable years respectively about 190,000 and 12,000 cwt., and in unfavourable years, as, e.g., 1874, about 12,000 and 3000 ewt. The hives there iu 1870 numbered 617,407 (or 40 per 1000 of the population, against 45 in Austria). Of these 365,711 were in Hungary Proper, and 91,348 (87 per 1000 persons) in the Military Frontier (Keleti, Ucbcrsicht der Berollc. Ungarns, 1871 ; Schwicker, d. K. Unyarn, 1877). In Poland the system of bee-keeping introduced by Dolinowski has been found to afford an average of 40 lb of honey and wax and two new swarms per hive, the common peasant's hive yielding, with two swarms, only 3 lb of honey and wax. In forests and places remote from villages in Podolia and parts of Volhynia, as many as 1000 hives may be seen in one apiary. In the district of Ostrolenka, in the government of Nock, and in the woody region of Polcsia, in Lithuania, a method is practised of rearing bees in excavated trunks of trees (Stanton, " On the Treatment of Bees in Poland," Technologist, vi. 45, 1866). When, in August, in the loftier valleys of Botanic), Italy, flowering ceases, the bee; in their wooden hives are by means of spring-carts transported at night to lower regions, where they obtain from the buckwheat crops the inferior honey which serves them for winter consumption (lb., p. 38).

In Palestine, " the land flowing with milk and honey"' (Ex. iii. 17; Numb. xiii. 27), wild bees are very numerous, especially in the wilderness of Julea, and the selling of their produce, obtained front crevices in rocks, hollows in trees, and elsewhere, is with many of the inhabitants a means of subsistence. Commenting on 1 Sam. xiv. 26, J. Roberts (Oriental Must.) remarks that in the East "the forests literally flow with honey ; large combs may be seen hanging on the trees, as you pass along, full of honey." In Galilee, and at Bethlehem and other places in Palestine, bee-keeping is extensively carried on. The hives are sun-burnt tubes of mud, about 4 feet in length and 8 inches in diameter, and, with the exception of a small central aperture fur the passage of the bees, closed at each end with mad. These are laid together in long rows, or piled pyramidally, and are protected from the sun by a covering of mud and of boughs. The honey is extracted, when the ends have been removed, by means of an iron hook. (See Tristram, Nat. _Hist. of the Bible, pp. 322 sq., 2(1 ed.. 1868). Apiculture in Turkey is iu a very rude condition. The or " Honey Aiount, in the plain of Troy, is so called on account of the numerous wild bees tenanting the caves in its precipitous rocks to the south. In various regions of Africa, as on the west, near the Gambia, boes abound. Cameron was informed by his guides that the large quantities of honey at the cliffs by the river Arakanyazi were under the protection of an evil spirit, and not one of his men could be persuaded to gather any (Access Africa, i. 266). On the precipitous slopes of the Teesta valley, in India, the procuring of honey from the pendulous bees'-nests, which are sometimes large enough to be conspicuous features at a mile's distance, is the only means by which the idle poor raise their annual rent (Hooker, Kiln. Journ., ii. 41).

To reach the large combs of Apis dorsala and A. lestacca, the natives of Timor, by whom both the honey and young bees are esteemed delicacies, ascend the trunks of lofty forest trees by the use of a loop of creeper. Protected from the myriads of angry insects by a small torch only, they detach the combs from the under surface of the branches, and lower them by slender cords to the ground (Wallace, JOUrll. Licata. See., Zoo)., VOL xi.). For additional facts concerning, honey, and a sketch of the processes of apiculture usually adopted in the Old World, see the article BEE, vol, iii. 484-503.

On honey, and bees and bee-keeping in general, see, besides the above-mentioned works, J. Bonner, -4 New Plan Jor speedily ine•casiny the number of Bes in Scotland, 1795, containing the substance of The Bee-Master's Companion, 1769, by the same author; V. lIendu, Traiti prativre sur les Abeilles, 1838; Munn's honey Bee, ed. by E. Bevan; J. Sanmeham, Humble Creatures, pt. ii., 1•60; II. Taylor, The Bee-Keeper's Manual, 6th ed.' 1560; F. Cowan, Curious Poets in the History of Insects. pp. 174-215, 1565; A. Neighbour, The Apiary, 2i1 ed., 1866; W. E. Shuckard, British Bees, 1866; A. l'ettigrew, The Handy Book of Bees, 1870; G. de Loyens, Elerage des Abcilles par les Precedes Modernes, 1874; J. de Hidalgo Tablada, Tratado de las Abej«,, Made., 1875; A. J. Hanyell, The Italian Buskin of Bee-Reepaw, 1870; and P. II, Hassan, Food and its Adulterations, p. 266, 1876. p. 11. B.)

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