Honey bees are one of the most hardworking insects, and the honey they produce has unique healing properties. It has found wide application in the cosmetology field, traditional medicine, and its beneficial properties have been confirmed by official science. But honey is far from being the only product of the life of bees. One of the most interesting is the honeycomb.
What is honeycomb? This is the colloquial notation for a cell. In bees, they are hexagonal and arranged symmetrically. Wax buildings of honey plants serve as an excellent storage for honey, young animals are grown in them, and honeycombs also serve as a home for their creators. The rationality of using free space in a bee building can be the envy of any construction company. Each cell wall is also one of the adjacent cell walls. In beekeeping, special thin wax sheets are used to help bees, on which hexagonal bottoms, consisting of three rhombuses, are pressed. It is this design that becomes the basis for future wax structures. These sheets are calledwax, they are attached to rectangular wooden frames, which are installed in a special way in the hives. On one foundation there are a lot of small bottoms, hence the name, because the word "hot" comes from "hundred". Many beekeepers have seen insects work on wax and understand what a comb is and how it is built.
Where does wax come from?
In the wild, bees are great at building hives without human intervention. The wax used to build the comb is produced by these wonderful insects themselves, but only when they are young and with sufficient, enhanced consumption of fresh flower nectar and pollen. In the soft state, the bee building material is very malleable and can be easily molded into any shape that will last after hardening. Strength and durability are inherent in this material, it is also highly hygienic and resistant to various microorganisms and the oxidizing action of oxygen.
When do bees start making comb?
During the spring awakening of nature, the bees begin their construction work. With the appearance of the first flowers, insects have the opportunity to collect nectar and pollen. With a sufficient amount of these substances in the body of the bee, special wax glands begin to work, from which the material for future honeycombs is released. First, the cells damaged during the winter are corrected, and only then the workers begin to create new ones, attaching them to the alreadyready.
The honeycomb is different in color. At first it is light, almost white, with a slight creamy tint. In such a comb, the wax content approaches 100%. They are the most useful and pure. If honey has already been stored in the combs or young bees have been hatched, then the material darkens and its color becomes yellow, brown and even almost black. The darker the honeycomb, the more it contains all kinds of impurities and the less the wax itself.
Honeycombs and honey
What is honeycomb every beekeeper knows, and at the beginning of the active period of life of bees, breeders try to increase the economy. Bee colonies are taken away from noisy cities to flower meadows and fresh foundations are added to the hives, because working insects love space. The natural nest of wild bees most often contains eight combs, they are parallel and arranged vertically at exactly the same distance from each other - one and a quarter centimeter. The distance between honeycombs is called "bee streets" for a reason - insects move along them in a certain order.
The structure of the nest in bees is very rational. Above is a storage for honey, below - honeycombs with growing bee offspring, where there is very good access to fresh air, and at the very bottom there is a kind of industrial complex. The bees carry nectar into the lower combs, which is then dried, enriched with enzymes and processed into honey, after which the finished product is transferred to the upper warehouse. The result is a delicious and fragrant honeycomb.
What is drone or mother comb? In the hive, in addition to honey, there are also special cells in which drones are grown and live. Their task is to fertilize the uterus. And there are separate uterine combs in which the queen bee grows. The creation of each type of honeycomb is a unique and amazing process.