Centre for Ecological Apiculture


Honey Science I-II

Surely, most of you are aquainted with culinary delights of honey - at least of common extracted honey. But the real honey specialities are comb in the comb or comb-honey: they are the best prophylactic against a cold. Eating honey during engagement was considered in former times to be useful in order to have strong and well shaped children later.

Honey is known at least for 12.000 years. Especially in Egypt a honey culture was widespread. Honey was used for ritual and medical purposes. From Greece we know by Hippokrates about 300 diferent honey remedies.

Honey contains up to 30 different kinds of sugar like fructose and dextrose and nearly 200 recorded substances. For instance organic acids, ferments, vitamins, aromatic substances und minerals like phosphor, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, as well as many antibacterial pharmacologically active ingredients (Inhibines with antibiotic effect).

The point in the German honey regulation: honey is a natural sweet substance which is produced by honeybees while collecting nectar from plants or secretions from living parts of plants or excretions on plants from insects succing on plants, converting it by combination with their own specific substances, by storing it, by dehydrate it (reduce water content) and by storing it in the combs of the beehive and let it ripen.

Germany is worldchampion in honey consuming. The annual per-capita consumption is about 1,5 kg. But only a quarter of the german honey consumption is from own production. Pure German honey is being produced according DIB-standard. Pure German comb in the comb and run-honey is best produced according standards of ecological beekeeping (Centre for Ecological Apiculture); this comb- and run honey fulfill special requirements which exceed requirements from German honey regulation, German beekeepers association (DIB), organic rule and German organic associations.

If honey is correctly stored it is durable for many years. You should take care about a dry, dark and cold storage (15-18°C). Honeyjars need always to be closured propperly as honey adopts very quickly humidity and disturbing odours.

Crystallization has no influence on honeyquality; it is a natural process. Some kinds like clover honey crystallize immediately after honeyharvest. Others like fir honey, crystallize after years. It depends on different proportion of fructose and dextrose. Is the part of dextrose higher, the honey crystallizes faster and firmer. Honeyjar superscripts like „selection", „selected", „beekeeper’s honey" are only empty phrases.


But honey is not honey, even if the process of production (in the honeybee) is always the same. The final product, which is yielded from honeycombs by running, extraction, or pressing, differ in several quality characteristics. The colour spectrum goes from nearly achromatic (white) to very dark colours. The consistency can be liquid, completely cristallized or beginning to cristallize. Differences in Taste and flavour depend mainly on botanical origin. According to the basic material one differs flowerhoney and honeydew honey. Flowerhoney comes completely or mainly from nectar of blossoms. Honeydew honey comes from honeydew of several tree species; excretions on plants from insects succing on plants. The bees collect these sugar containing excretions and converting it by combination with their own specific substances to honey. Honeydew honey is always dark, contains lots of mineral nutrients and has a spicy flavour; it is rather a specialty.

But the produce of honeybees differ also in respect of kinds of harvest:

1.  Honey comb or comb in the comb is honey, which is still contained in caped combs built by the bees themselves - without broodcells. The combs are being cut and sold in portions to market. comb-honey is a produce to which neither mechanical (extraction, stiring procedure) nor heat treatment ("melting") has occured and which consequently is an product of especially high quality. Thus there is an increase in popularity regarding comb honey. But always again checking turns out that in parts 90 percent of the comb honey is being criticized. For the most part it is imported honey which contains brood and foundation and is sometimes contaminated with antibiotics and beerepellents. Also honey comb from Germany is concerned, if it is not produced according standards of Centre for Ecological Apiculture. According EU-Rules even artificial foundation in comb honey is allowed. More information and address source for pure honey comb (not heated) are availlable in the Centre for Ecological Apiculture.  Only Honey comb produced according standards of the Centre for Ecological Apiculture is being used in M. Thiele Bee Therapy. [1][2][3][4][5]

2.  Honey with parts of combs (chunk-honey) contains one or more pieces of comb-honey.

3.  A delicacy for people who live according the sentence: „A healthy mind in a healthy body" may also try honey comb or chunk-honey with beebread (pollen stored by the bees in newly built combs). More information and address source availlable in the Centre for Ecological Apiculture. Honey comb with beebread produced according standards of the Centre for Ecological Apiculture is also being used in M. Thiele Bee Therapy. [1][2][3][4][5]

4.  Run-honey: this specialty is said to be the best honey directly after comb-honey. The beekeeper lets drip the honey out of the uncaped combs. This method is nowadays only practiced by very few beekeers; in Germany  the Centre for Ecological Apiculture is the only institution, in which the production of this specialty is mainly practiced and taught. Only run honey produced according standards of the Centre for Ecological Apiculture is being used in M. Thiele Bee Therapy. [1][2][3][4][5]

5.  The „bestseller" among all honey kinds is extracted honey; he is being extracted from uncaped combs in a an extractor (centrifugal machine). This kind of honey is offered in most apiaries and can be found in supermarkets. This honey is not being used in natural Apitherapy.

6.  Regarding presshoney the combs are being pressed or the honey is harvested by heating the combs up to 45°C. This method is rarely used nowadays. Also this honey is not being used in natural Apitherapy.

7.  Nowadays honey is being ultrafiltrated - and withit somehow adulterated; honey is being heated and pressed through ceramic filters. This kind of honey needs to be labled as filter-honey as he contains almost no typical components of honey like pollen. Mainly used by Countries who are known as famous honeyexporters and mass producers of genetically modified seeds; they are able to filter out genetically engineered pollen. (This kind of honey usually can be found in supermarkets)

8.  Artificial honey: It is no honey, only similar to honey and an artificially produced substitute. It is allowed to mix honey with artificial honey. But this product needs to be labled as artificial honey. (very inexpensive and offered only in supermarkets)

9. Artificial honey or the "vegan honey alternative" is often produced with genterically modified microorganisms. Besides honey aroms they contain a lot of food additives, mor or less dangerous. The Dutch company "Fooditive" and the israelish company  "Bee-io" use genterically modified microorganisms. Logical, that those junk-Produkts are expensive but neither sustainable nor useful for apitherapy. [6]

11. Artificial honey comb from framehive beekeeping, sold in supermarkts or trading companies is offered in plastic cassettes. Artificial honey, biotech-honey, filter honey or artificial honey comb can't be used for natural apitherapy. If artificial honey comb with contaminated beeswax  has negative side-effects on the fertility on human beings is not yet clearified. [2]

[1] Sources of supply see: Listing of Products
[2] Centre for Ecological Apiculture / Zentrum für wesensgemäße Bienenhaltung 2023: Quality of Beeproducts I-II. Press-Release
[3] Zentrum soziale Medizin und natürliche Bienentherapie 2013: Natürliche Bienentherapie und A-Klasse-Wabenhonig statt Medical Wellness und Functional Food. Pressemitteilung
[4] Zentrum für soziale Medizin und natürliche Bienentherapie 2024: M. Thiele Bee Therapy. Press-Release
[5] Centre for Ecological Apiculture 2024: How to get started: Distance Course No. 19 Organic / Ecological Topbar Beekeeping. Press-Release
[6] Centre for Ecological Apiculture / Zentrum für wesensgemäße Bienenhaltung 2023: Quality of Beeproducts III. Press-Release

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