What Is Honeycomb?
Honeycomb is a type of hexagonal wax, geometrically designed by honey bees. Honey bee honeycomb is the most popular, noted for its distance shape. Honeycombs are storage compartments used by honeybees to store infant larvae, pupae, and pre-adult bees for protection. Honey combs are also used to store eggs produced by queen bees. Lastly, the combs are also used to store pollen, natural resources, and, of-course, honey.
Honeycomb wax is a byproduct produced by bees in a manner mirroring regurgitation. Bees ingest food particles, pollens, and nectar. This concoction is processed in their system and wax is created in several glands near the mouth. This substance is often referred to as "beeswax". It is a substance that is very pliable, moldable, and firms up rapidly when cooled. Changing the temperature of the wax of a hive can destroy it, as the wax is also thermo-insulative.
How Is Honeycomb Made?
Honeycomb is made when beeswax is shaped by multiple bees into the distinguished hexagonal "combs" we all are so familiar with. Much like bird migratory patterns, the current understandings of science cannot account for why exactly the shape is created and replicated in such a way. The theory scientists have is that each comb allows for maximum surface area, while maintaining rigidity. Others claim it is likely to accommodate a hatchling without the risk of causing concussive damage (the sides fold in when pressure is applied, rather than transferring pressure to the hatchling). In any case, raw beeswax is chewed and put together, then molded using a honeybee's mandibles, legs and antennae to create a perfect shape. When it dries, we have the distinguished combed appearance.
Honeycomb variations are rare. It goes without saying, however, that larger bees produce larger combs. Furthermore, wasps, and hornets also produce wax nests. However, the consistency of hornet and wasp wax is very different, and their combs are circular, rather than hexagonal.
Farmers have experimented with shaping wax, but to little success. Honeybees appear to be rather ritualistic and will not divert from replicating their innate patterns.
Is Honey Comb Edible?
Honeycomb is edible but presents a serious chocking hazard. Honeycomb can be soft, but durable. It is advisable that, when eaten, individuals chew it very thoroughly to reduce the risk of choking.
Honeycombs have been traditionally eaten for over 10,000 years. Precautions must be taken to ensure that there are no bees inside, or that the honeycomb is not spoiled, contaminated, or covered with molds or fungi.
If the honeycomb is clear of potential teratogens, it is safe to eat. External wax on the outside of a hive is not edible. Wasp nest combs are not edible. Hornet nest combs are also not edible.
Honeycombs can be eaten as-is or added to desserts, yogurt, salads, meats, and soups.
Honey With Honeycomb:
Honey with honeycomb is a delicacy found in few restaurants, as it is growing increasingly rare in the world. If you are lucky enough to be served honeycombs filled with honey, feast on it quickly. But remember, be mindful to chew thoroughly not to choke. Otherwise your yellow dreamy adventure might land you in the ER at a hospital with a hard story to explain…. or lead you to an early grave. You can also splatter it with a honey spoon.
Some countries will serve honeycombs with honey and bee larvae. It is advised not to consume raw larvae, as they can carry many biological pathogens.
Health Benefits Of Honeycomb:
- Filled with antioxidants (oxygen receptor blockers to keep you youthful)
- Antibacterial and Antifungal properties (the wax has been used as traditional medicine since the dawn of mankind)
- Helps digestion issues (this can include indigestion, poor digestion, and digestive pains)
- Lubricates sore throat (the honey on the comb with the physical comb will help any sore throat feel better)
- Anti-inflammatory agent (honeycomb can help reduce inflammation)
- Wound management (honeycomb is proven to work better than Vaseline for the treatment and maintenance of cuts, scrapes, and dry skin)
Where To Buy Honeycomb:
The best advice here is to go to your local bee farm and ask if they are selling honey with the comb. Most bee farms rotate combs or remove old ones to prevent hives from becoming too large. These by-products can then be retailed to you at a low market value. You can also check out our store here or ask on our discussion board if you would like to request reliable honeycombs to be sold on our website (we have sources). ?