Creamed honey is crystalized honey! If conditions are right, all honey will crystalize (like “rock-candy” that precipitates out of a super-saturated sugar solution). By finely grinding these crystals with a mortar and pestle, we created tiny “seed crystals” that are used to make a spreadable, smooth, creamy honey. It’s the same 100% local, pure, unfiltered, raw honey from our hardworking bees, but with a new consistency! If creamed honey starts to liquify, a day or two in the fridge will typically “set” the crystals again.
Beeswax is made by the honey bees themselves. When bees are approximately 12-20 days old, they develop a gland in their abdomen that can produce wax. This gland converts the sugar from honey into wax that is secreted in flakes on their abdomen. After being secreted, the flakes of wax are collected by other bees who chew it up. The wax is then used to build the comb. It takes a fair amount of honey to turn into wax though, which means that building a comb can take a significant amount of time and hive resources. It is estimated that it takes about 7 pounds of honey, for every pound of wax made.
The “honeycomb” made by the colony is important for a couple of reasons: First, it provides a place for the Queen to lay her eggs, and the larvae to grow into new honey bees. Secondly, the comb is used to store pollen (for food) and evaporate the nectar collected by the bees until it has turned into honey! When the honey has a moisture content below 18%, the bees will cap the cell of the comb with more wax, which turns it into nature’s perfect pantry.
In order to minimize the adverse impact from harvesting (taking) honey from a hive, the experienced beekeeper will try to salvage the comb and give it back to the hive so that the bees can clean and re-use it. This is accomplished by slicing off the wax cappings from honey-filled comb and spinning the frame to remove the honey. The empty frame is given back to the bees, and the wax cappings are rinsed, melted, and filtered – a process called “rendering.”
Beeswax can be used for a variety of purposes. It’s often used in candle making, cosmetics, skincare, and even some food products.
The taste and color of honey is primarily determined by the source of nectar. Bees are excellent pollinators: When one bee finds a new source of nectar, she’ll take it back to her hive and recruits her sister worker bees to forage from the same flowers. The bees that are collecting nectar from a particular bloom, will keep returning to the same patch of blossoms until there is no more. This results in excellent pollination between flowers of a same plant species and in honey taking on the color and flavor of the particular nectar. Since on Guam we do not have large parcels of farmland with one, dominant, flowering crop (monoculture), our honeys will (should) always be classified as “wildflower” honey – a mixture of nectar from different flowers blooming in jungles, planters, and backyards.