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Different honey varieties. What’s behind it?

Different Honey Varieties Flagstaff

9_beesWhy are there different honey varieties?  What determines the taste of a particular honey? While out collecting pollen and nectar from various flowers the worker bee will travel around a 3 mile radius from the hive.  That’s a lot of work!  Each tiny sip comes from whatever plant is flowering at the moment and she decides to land on.  The flowers will change throughout the season, giving subtle variation to color, taste, and even viscosity.

That’s one of the really fun things about our Flagstaff wildflower honey, the different honey varieties and variation in taste is a direct reflection of what’s growing right here in Northern Arizona!  Sometimes honey will even vary from one side of Flagstaff to the other.  For example, we have a hive 20 minutes west of Flagstaff in a little area called Parks.  When we pulled honey from that (very productive) hive this summer the honey was very light in color and in taste.  People told us it was their favorite honey ever!  Even doing a side-by-side taste of other regional honeys from other producers this clearly came out on top.

Flagstaff Arizona Bee Sunflower PollenSo what was the secret?  Nothing we’ve done.  It’s nature, plain and simple.  In that particular area there were huge fields of Prairie Sunflowers growing.  Could that have been the main source of the bee’s nectar they were turning into honey?  Perhaps.  This may have been the dominant nectar source for the Flagstaff wildflower honey that we pulled from this hive.  I suspect it was, because we also collected some extra honey from a bee removal in Bellemont nearby that was surrounded by these flowers and tasted very similar.

When you see different honey varieties there really is a lot to it!  Honey that’s labeled “Clover Honey”, “Orange Honey”, “Buckwheat Honey”, or even “Mesquite Honey” means those are the dominant flowers the bees are foraging on.  Typically hives are placed in orchards or areas where those flowers are in abundance, so those flowers are what is used by the bees to create honey.

Honey made from these various sources each have different tastes, colors, flow, and even sugar content.  Clover honey tends to be somewhat light in color and taste, while some varieties like Buckwheat honey is very dark and thick, with a taste somewhat similar to molasses.  It is considered to be the highest in anti-oxidants and minerals of all honeys produced in the US.  In contrast Catclaw honey is VERY light and sweet and tends to be a favorite of tea drinkers as it sweetens without adding too much honey flavor or bitterness.

Different Honey Varieties

Like different coffee roasts, various honey lovers have their own favorites.  We encourage you to get out there and try it!  Visit your local farmers market where you can often sample various honey from the area and find your favorite!  Whatever you do, don’t buy the cheap grocery store “honey”.  Truth is it’s probably not even real honey and certainly doesn’t taste anywhere near the same!

Flagstaff Honey delivery serviceOur honey is produced right here in the beautiful Northern Arizona mountains of Flagstaff and we think it’s the bee’s knees!  We have easy online ordering and hand-deliver all our honey right to your doorstep. We even have a Hive2Home monthly delivery service to bring you our local raw honey on a regular basis. It’s a popular movement with many people who have tried our honey here in Flagstaff.

Try it.  We guarantee you’ll like it!

 

Flagstaff Arizona Raw organic honey

 

Pollination and Bees

It has often been said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Most crops grown for their fruits (including vegetables such as squash, cucumber, tomato and eggplant), nuts, seeds, fiber (such as cotton), and hay (alfalfa grown to feed livestock), require pollination by insects.
Pollinating insects also play a critical role in maintaining natural plant communities and ensuring production of seeds in most flowering plants. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of a flower of the same species, which results in fertilization of plant ovaries and the production of seeds. The main insect pollinators, by far, are bees, and while European honey bees are the best known and widely managed pollinators, there are also hundreds of other species of bees, mostly solitary ground nesting species, that contribute some level of pollination services to crops and are very important in natural plant communities.

Why are bees good pollinators?

Bees make excellent pollinators because most of their life is spent collecting pollen, a source of protein that they feed to their developing offspring. When a bee lands on a flower, the hairs all over the bees’ body attract pollen grains through electrostatic forces. Stiff hairs on their legs enable them to groom the pollen into specialized brushes or pockets on their legs or body, and then carry it back to their nest. Individual bees tend to focus on one kind of flower at a time, which means it is more likely that pollen from one flower will be transferred to another flower of the same species by a particular bee. Many plants require this kind of pollen distribution, known as cross-pollination, in order to produce viable seeds. The business of collecting pollen requires a lot of energy, and so many flowers attract and also reward bees with nectar, a mixture of water and sugars produced by plants.

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Where and how do bees live?

Most bee species dig nests in soil, while others utilize plants, either by boring holes in pithy plant stems or wood, or by nesting in galleries made by wood-boring beetles in trees or other preexisting cavities. Bumble bees are known to nest in abandoned rodent burrows and feral honey bees are known to nest in tree hollows. Bees use a variety of materials to build their nests. Most bees line their nest cells with a waxy material they produce themselves, but others use pieces of leaves, small pebbles mixed with resin from tree sap, or mud to form the cells in which they lay their egg.

Why do bees need flowers throughout the growing season?

Many bee species are solitary (each female produces offspring in her own nest) with only one generation of bees produced per year. However, other species nest communally (several females share a nest) or have elaborate social structures with division of labor within the colony (usually with a single queen and many workers). These kinds of bees produce multiple generations per year. This means that bees that produce multiple generations each year need food resources (pollen and nectar) across most of the growing season to produce strong colonies. Providing plants in a landscape with overlapping bloom periods will help these bees survive and prosper.

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