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Honey Day

"Neque mel, neque apes"

~ Latin: "No bees, no honey"

The bards of old called Britain the “Isle of Honey” due to the sheer number of wild bees flying to and fro. Bees figured prominently in the ancient folkore of Britain, and particularly Scotland, in the concept of "bee souls." It was believed that the soul could leave the body in the form of a bee while a person was sleeping. Besides honey, harvested for its nutritive and healing properties, to reinforce their hives, bees generate another substance from the resin of from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. Although bees use it as caulk, humans have used it to fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, sore throat, cavities, and even eczema! 🐝

Neque mel, neque apes,  a Latin phrase for "No bees, no honey" means  “every convenience hath its concomitant inconvenience.”  The modern, English rhyming version (cited in print since at least 1889) is: “No bees, no honey; no work, no money.” 

 

Cultures throughout the centuries have valued honey for its wide array of uses.

 

Archaeologists have discovered honey combs buried with Egyptian pharaohs in their tombs. In Greek mythology, honey was often considered "ambrosia", a food or drink of the Greek Gods.  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, championed honey not only for its nutritional benefits but also for its medicinal values.

 

The Romans even used honey as a topical medicine for healing their wounds during battles. Napoleon revered honey so much that he had bees embroidered onto his clothes and the flag of his army. 

This tartan, by designer Carol A.L. Martin, uses colors from the full spectrum of wildflower honey. Honey color ranges from nearly colorless to dark brown, and its flavor varies from mild to strong, depending on the source.  As a general rule, light-colored honey is milder in taste and dark-colored honey is stronger.

The color and flavor of honeys differ depending on the nectar source (the blossoms) visited by the honey bees. There are hundreds of unique types of honey originating from different floral sources. 

Some common types of single-blossom honey cultivated from all over the world are: acacia, apple blossom, alfalfa, arbutus, avocado, blueberry, blackberry, borage, buckwheat, carob blossom, carrot blossom, chestnut, coriander blossom, cherry blossom, clover, cotton, dandelion, eucalyptus, fireweed, gallberry, goldenrod, hawthorn, heather, hedgerow, kamahi (Hawaii), kiawe (Hawaii), lavender, lehua blossom (Hawaii), lime tree, longan, linden blossom, Manuka (New Zealand), mesquite, onion, orange blossom, rapeseed, rubber, rosemary, sage, sunflower, sir (Yemen), sulla (southern Italy), sumac, thistle thyme, and Tupelo (Florida).

For an interesting video on the mathematics of honeycomb construction and the honeycomb cell's distinctive hexagonal shape, click the honeycomb.