Hive products are issued from plants or transformed from plants.
We distinguish the vegetal products such as pollen or propolis from processed products such as honey, royal jelly, or wax.
Pure vegetal hive products- Pollen
Pollen is the male element of the flowers. It is a kind of powder produced by the etamine. Bees collect it with their rear legs to form pellets mixed with soil, honey and saliva. These pellets are brought back to the hive afterwards. The pellets are stored into the wax cells and used later to feed the eldest larva and the nannies to create the royal jelly. Fresh pollen can be consumed for about two weeks. For longer conservation, it has to be frozen or dried then stored in a dry place.
Pure vegetal hive products – Propolis
The propolis is a coniferous substance harvested by bees on the buds of some types of trees. The propolis is a mix of a large variety of trace elements, aromatic and phenolic acids. The bees use this substance to insulate the hive from the outside by filling the air holes and by sanitizing from predators.
To harvest the propolis, we put a particular fence simulating an air leak in the hive that the bees will feel. The color green, red, or brown of the propolis comes from different plants. The beekeeper transforms it into powder, mother tincture to spray or capsules for its antiseptic and energetic characteristics. Natural propolis is bitter and slightly pungent.
Transformed vegetal hive products – Honey
Honey is a product coming from the nectar of foraged flowers and plants. After feeding the nectar, the bees transform it by adding enzymes. Back to the hive, the bees share this mix of nectar and protein and finally add some saliva and digestive juices, then store it into the wax cells, ventilating it to reduce its humidity. This honey will be used during the winter to feed the swarm. Once reaching the right humidity level, the beeswax of the cell can preserve it from the outside and make it last long. As the bees produce honey as long as they find material to store, their production is excessing their needs. This excess is what will be harvested by the beekeepers at the end of each flower blooming season.
Transformed vegetal hive products – Royal Jelly
The royal jelly is produced by the youngest bees working as nannies that are between 5 and 14 days old. This milky substance is made of trace elements, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. It is used to feed the brood warms and the queen during its entire life, but in opposition to the previous product, it is not in excess in the hive. This is the reason why this product is so rare and expensive, and it is often considered as the caviar of the colony.
Transformed vegetal hive products – Wax
The wax is a transformed product made in the bees’ abdomen. The wax is used for the storage of honey, pollen, but as well has baby-basket for the larva. To fix the cells, the bees are using propolis in a small quantity. The product is produced excessively by the swarm and can be removed by beekeepers after harvesting the hive. These cells, after heating them, can be transformed by humans to create products.
If you want to have a better understanding of life in a hive and the biodiversity impact of the bees, please look at our partner’s website to have a half-day session of discovery.