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How Bees Make Honey And Propolis With Great Health Benefits

Updated on March 16, 2015

There are many species of Bees. The name, Bee, originates from the Latin Apis, and the Honey Bee is central to South and Southeast Asia. These are a group known to be part of only seven species of specific Honey making bees. Even though nearly all of the bee population make honey, these are known particularly for their pure Honey making skills. But all of the Bee species make different types of honey, some taste sweet and others more flowery.

The more basic type of Honeycomb can be a single exposed Comb, whereas the more recently evolved Bee will make their Comb in wall cavities and are multiple in their dimensions.

For thousands of years people have been using the honey and wax made in the Comb. Even the ancient Egyptians used honey as a staple food diet. And the wax has been used for candle making, and household and beauty products. It is a well known fact that the whole ecological system would crumble if anything happened to the bee population.

Each stage of our Eco system is based on balance. And this is where the bee is most useful. Not only do they pollinate flowers, they also pollinate a variety of plants and shrubs, but not all flora.

Bees making honey
Bees making honey

Royal Jelly Health Supplement

Inside the Hive

Just before I describe how honey and Propolis are made, here is a brief summery of how the colony work.

A colony usually generates one Queen who is fertile and will propagate the colony of bees. She will be surrounded by over a thousand drone bees or fertile males. The rest of the Colony will be made up of sterile worker bees. When the eggs are ready to be hatched they will emerge singly in a cell within a wax honeycomb. The Queen will then choose to fertilise the egg if she needs to. Sometimes she will leave the egg to become a Drone. She is in charge. This way she will produce the right amount of Drones, and balance the nest.

Royal Jelly

The Larvae are initially fed with Royal Jelly produced by the worker bees. Later on when they begin to mature, the food will change to honey and pollen. If a Queen is to be produced, the worker bees will continue to feed a Larvae with Royal Jelly. This is the ingredient that makes the Queen superior to her workers. Royal Jelly is thought to have healing properties in humans. Being rich in B Complex vitamins such as B5 and B6, water, protein and amino acids. It may help in the balancing of Graves Disease which is thyroid malfunction and lowering cholesterol and is also an anti-inflammatory. If you suffer with Asthma it should be taken with caution, as it can cause an allergic reaction.

As the worker bee ages, she will continue to work around the hive until she is old, and then she will leave to continue foraging for the nest.

Honey made by bees from pollen is great for your health
Honey made by bees from pollen is great for your health

Making Honey

Honey is made up of complex substances which include nectar and other sweet deposits taken from flowers and plants. This is then modified and stored within the colony for food. Mixing the nectar and other parts of the pollen taken, it is churned up into a sticky mixture by regurgitation, that will then set into the honey that we buy in the store. Its chemical composites are Mono saccharides which make it taste sweet, and Fructose and Glucose.


Pollen is a good protein source for the hive. This is used to feed the Larvae. It has been harvested by people for years, and can be taken as as Health Supplement. It is said to help people overcome their allergic reactions to pollen. Mainly prescribed by Homeopathists. It's chemical makeup includes a fine powder which is called Microgametophytes, which is from the seed plant. This produces the male Gametes sperm cells. When the pollen lands on a compatible plant, the process begins to germinate and produce a tube like structure that will transfer the male pollen to the female plant ovary.


Beeswax is made by the older drones. It is a substance secreted by glands on their abdomen, and is used to make the walls of the hive and to cap the Larvae cells to keep them clean and germ free. It is a combination of fatty acids and long chain alcohols. Made up from Palmitate, Palmitoleate, and Hydroxypalmitate.

People use Beeswax for a number of household products. Including furniture polish, candles and some facial creams.

Beehive | Source



Propolis has been used for many years as a Health Food Supplement. Its so called magical properties have even been claimed to help infertile women who want to get pregnant. It is a mixture that is similar to resin and is collected by the Bees, from tree buds, sap, and other sources. It is usually used within the hive to fill in the gaps of walls which beeswax cannot fill. It has antiseptic properties that keep the cell clean. It is usually dark brown but can be a completely different color all depending on the flower source.

Apart from keeping the hive cool in the summer and very warm in the winter, Propolis prevents diseases entering the colony. And strangely enough it is also used as a clean up tool if an insect gets into the colony and leaves its waste products. The Propolis is spread across the waste and sealed, therefore leaving it clean and smell free.

The chemical composition of Propolis can actually change from place to place, and hive to hive all depending on the surrounding countryside and plant life. Propolis has over 50 constituents, which includes, flavonoid resins and vegetable balsams, waxes, essential oils and pollen. But these are just a small amount of amazing properties that Propolis seems to include. Prenylated acids, 4 hydroxy 3, 5 diprenyl cinnamic acid, and so many more all depending on where the colony lives. It is amazing to think that wherever the Bees come from, they learn to adapt it but still keep the wonderful chemicals that they and we need to keep healthy.

That's the good stuff. The bad is that the trouble starts when Scientists try to replicate the health giving properties in a lab. As I said before, each colony makes a different substance each time. Some substances will be better antiseptics, others somewhere else may be used for allergy's. Even under controlled conditions, it is still impossible for Propolis to be made the way that the Scientists want and expect it to be produced. Therefore, if someone states that they have been healed by Propolis, there is no way at this time, that it can be proven and documented.

Propolis Aid to Health

Propolis is available at Health Stores and is used in a variety of over the counter medicines.

  1. Inflammations
  2. Viral diseases
  3. Ulcers
  4. Burns and Scalds
  5. Healthy Heart
  6. Strengthen the Immune System
  7. Reduce Cataracts
  8. Antibiotic
  9. Antifungal
  10. Dental Caries

Along with its other uses such as Car Wax and even chewing gum, its seems that Propolis is possibly the wonder drug of the future.

I am not a Medical Practitioner and I advice caution before using Propolis or anything else mentioned here. Always see a Doctor before taking any herbal or natural health drug as it can cause complications with your prescribed medicine.

Copyright Nell Rose


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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi oceans, I love bees they are so special, fascinating and just a joy to watch, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Nell, I love bees and the other pollinators. This is a great hub, and I enjoyed reading it and learning more about the queen bee. Her duties, and how she comes to even be a queen bee are interesting. I love honey, and supporting the bee population as I can. I am interested in butterfly gardening, but have planted flowers for bee and bird gardens as well. I am always happy when I hear about people trying to plant gardens to help bees. More and more are becoming aware of how critical they are to us!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Marlene, thanks for reading, yes they are fascinating little creatures aren't they? and so good for the health with the honey etc, I love honey I eat it all the time!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Bees are quite fascinating. They are hard little workers and almost everything they produce for their survival can be consumed to the benefit of humans, too. Great article about bees.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Thanks Eric, I am sure you can find it somewhere on this site you have linked, I haven't heard of it before, but thanks for reading, nell

    • profile image

      Eric 6 years ago

      Great content. Do you have info regarding Red Propolis?

      I've checked some Brazilian suppliers that offer different extracts on

      Congrats for the hubpage!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Thanks alocsin, yes propolis is really good for you, I have used it in the past, glad you liked it and thanks again, nell

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      i knew about bees and honey, but not propolis, so thanks for that info. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, rorshak, yes they are clever little things, aren't they? thanks again, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Thanks Adikari, glad you liked it, cheers nell

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Susan, that's great! I did use to take it, but haven't for a while, I really must get some again, thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 6 years ago

      Great write up. I didn't know that one could do so much from bees!

    • Adikari profile image

      Adikari 6 years ago from Sri Lanka

      This is a very interesting article

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Nell I've been taking Propolis for years that I get at my local health food store in liquid form. A couple of drops on the tongue or mixed in liquid. Excellent article!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Coolmon, I am glad you liked it, and thanks!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      This is a very interesting article and thank you for the introduction to Propolis.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, natural, as long as the tree has a flower or bud to it, then bees can get their pollen from there, okay? fascinating little things! lol

    • profile image

      naturalsolutions 6 years ago

      You've done a great job, it is nice to be a part of this great conversation.

      Well just have a single question, does the honey comes only from flowers?

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Lux, I love honey but I never really understood the process or all the good things that are in it, amazing little creatures the bees, aren't they? thanks again, nell

    • LuxmiH profile image

      Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes 6 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

      Yummy! What a deliciously sweet article. Way to go Nell. A good read that is most educational on many levels.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, natural, yes you are so right, it is a great all rounder, thanks for reading, cheers nell

      Hi, Movie Master, Propolis is supposed to be a great little helper, I came across it a few years ago for something, can't remember what I needed it for! lol but it obviously helped, probably allergies! thanks for reading, cheers nell

      Hi, Vocal, thanks so much, I am glad you found it helpful, honey is good stuff, especially on toast! lol cheers nell

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Well, this hub is certainly going in my golden box of bookmarks! Enjoyed it immensely and learned so much. I will start taking propolis. It sounds like a miracle worker and at my age I need every miracle I can get :)

      Thank you for this beautiful hub and gorgeous photos. Rated clear across the board on this!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Nell, it's a fasinating process, so well written and explained, a very enjoyable read.

      I had never heard of propolis before.

      Many thanks for sharing and voting up.

    • profile image

      naturalsolutions 6 years ago

      It is not just how bees make honey but all the thing regards to bees and honey. Honey has a lot of benefits to us, Everybody should take this.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, marellen, I never realised that they were bought and sold, but of course they are! lol I wonder how much they go for? thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

      Hi, pras, yes honey is an amazing food, it has loads of vitamins in and all sorts of healthy good chemicals, thanks for reading, hugs nell

      Hi, amithak, glad you liked it, and thanks!

      Hi, investingreen, they are clever little things, aren't they? thanks for reading, cheers nell

      Hi, zubair, your gran was a very wise lady! lol it seems that she was right, a little bit of honey or propolis can really make you immune to allergies, thanks again nell

    • Zubair Ahmed profile image

      Zubair Ahmed 6 years ago

      Hi Nell,

      Another master piece - thank you for putting in the effort and sharing. Now I know why my gran used to always say eat honey with your breakfast every day and you will never feel the effects of common colds and allergies.


    • investingreen profile image

      investingreen 6 years ago from New York, NY

      Wow, bees are really amazing. Not only are they a good example of a community that works together, they are also hard workers. They really know how to make use of their resources and produce things that are not only beneficial for them but for humans as well. Thanks for this!

    • amithak50 profile image

      amithak50 6 years ago from India

      This is really interesting...Thanks

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia have valuable information. honey is one of the ancient medical prescriptions which still applied until now. Even there are many research to prove the efficacy of honey for health and it works for us. Thanks for share with us. I always learn something new from you. Good job, Nell. Vote up as always.

      Blessing, Prasetio

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Nell, great info on honey bees. I love honey and couldn't live without it. Bees are wonderful insects and I heard from a farmer in California that bees are in high demand, since they need the bee to pollinate their almond trees. Its amazing what they have to pay for bees.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      Gee, me and you too! Sorry!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Jackie, you got me confused now, you had an attack on your ankle too? wow, bees must like ankles! lol thanks for reading, cheers nell

      Duh, sorry, forgot who you were then for a minute! ha ha ha silly me!

      its all these nom de plumes, or plumes de noms, can't remember! ha ha

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Yeah, hornets and I have never heard of anything but honey bee being beneficial but it did indeed heal my ankle pain that was so bad I couldn't run from those bees but it was a good thing.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Polly, hornets? ouch! but if it cured your ankles then that was a good thing, I have heard of this before, it would be great if it had long term benefits for people, so getting stung would be a natural way of healing, but as you said, miserable night! lol thanks as always, nell

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      I think whatever type flowers they collect from makes the honey what it is, and I love orange blossom! It is so light and delicious!

      I have read that honey bee stings can cure MS or I read some articles where women claimed it did but the MS Foundation is not giving it serious enough trials I don't think and I got stung all over by hornets once which cured my ankles which had me in almost crying pain so I would not hesitate to use stings if it came to that one day. It didn't even cost me anything but one miserable night, lol.

      Great hub!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Lucky Cats, maybe they have engines in their wings! lol fascinating about the goats, I suppose its the same with all the animal population, all depending on where they are, thanks so much, and I am glad you liked it, thanks nell

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Incredible, Nell! I've always heard about the many properties of honey which are beneficial to us but did not know about the "clean waste" aspect. Nor was I aware of Propolis. WOW! There are so many uses for bee products from honey to wax. I can see how the constitution of propolis would change from area to area/region to region just as where animals graze determines the taste of milk, etc. We used to milk our goats and free range goat milk was much 'gamier' and stronger than grain fed.

      And, of course, without the bees..what would happen to polinization? There are those threats...pesticides, aggressive Africanized bees and herbicides which have greatly effected the bee population.

      I don't seem to see as many as I used to.

      great informative and I've learned new things by reading this.

      Hey, how DO bees manage flight? I've heard that their weight vs wing strength/size..appears to be a physical impossibility...'course..this is just rumor! LO

      Wonderful, Nell!!

      UP Awesome, Useful, Interesting and Beautiful because bees are useful....

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Quill, ah thank you! I think my mind races around at ninety miles an hour but needs to stop sometimes! lol thanks so much as always, nell

    • profile image

      "Quill Again" 6 years ago

      You never cease to amaze girl at the research and heart you out into what you write... wisdom is an active mind and yours will never fade.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Alastar, that makes sense about eating the local honey, because most people would have produced a natural immunity to the hayfever because they know the pollen, so it can only be beneficial, clever people! thanks as always, nell

      Hi, shariarbd, thanks!

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting to read exactly how honey and propolis is made. Royal Jelly and propolis definitely have great health benefits. Bears- although their thick fur protects them from most stings- are willing to be attacked by whole hives to get to it. Some old folk knowledge around here that really works for pollen probs, is to eat local honey from within about 40 or 50 miles of you. Good n healthful article Nell. Vote er up!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, twentyfive, bees do produce so much for our health, amazing little things! thanks for reading, cheers nell

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Hello hello, glad you liked it, and thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, carrie it is amazing isn't it? they are just so clever, I used to be terrified of them, now I know they are just going about their business! lol I let them get on with it now! thanks again nell

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Ruby, yes propolis is supposed to be good stuff, I have used royal jelly before, and honey all the time! That's great that your Grandfather had a hive, I would love to have one too, only I don't have the nerve! lol thanks as always nell

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, lily, Happy Birthday! sorry! totally forgot, brain like a sieve with water running through it! ha ha hope you had a good day? and I think that's a great idea to grab a bee and keep it prisoner for the royal jelly and propolis, lol cheers nell

    • twentyfive profile image

      twentyfive 6 years ago

      Excellent hub. Very informative and so useful to health and everyday life.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your well explained hub about bees and their products. I have leanred a lot from it.

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very detailed and informative hub! didn’t know that the different bees species make different types of honey! And was completely not aware of royal jelly!! But the best thing about the bees is that build the honey comb with such finesse and it is awesomely structured.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Propolis are new to me, sounds like they're very beneficial. I can remember my Grandfather had Bee hives, and my Mother used honey instead of sugar. Thank's Nell, informative article....

    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 6 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

      Awesome Nell, but look at those prices for propolis! Think I'll just run after a few slow bees and relieve them of their booty.

      They say honey found in the pyramids was still good.. I can believe it, and I'm glad you wrote about this fantastic food, we forgot getting together for my Birthday, but my blender was broken anyway... it was nice anyway... love yaz, lily

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Cardisa, Oh no! hope you are okay, that must have been painful! is your eye all swollen now?

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I have never heard of propolis before and I can't believe it has over 50 properties....that is amazing! I like bees....but wasps I can't stand. I got stung last night right over my right eye...can you believe it. This wasp was there at my window..

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, thranax, ouch! I did the same thing with a wasp! it landed on the seat of my bike and I didn't see it! I put my hand down hard and then felt an extruciating pain shoot up my hand and arm! talk about panic! lol I have much more respect for them now! thanks for reading, cheers nell

      Hi, christopher, they do a better job than me too! lol I am sitting here totally ignoring the housework! thanks as always, nell

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Thanks for that very interesting article Nell. Can you send some bees round to help clean my house, and do some maintainence?

      They seem to be very good at that.

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 6 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      Well, it is more lively then the story of how peanut butter is made! Bees, I hate them personally but that's only because I kept getting stung. It all started when I was 2 years old, I was outside with my father and a bee landed on my hand. It had no intention of stinging went between my fingers, felt fuzzy, and I squished the stinger into me! OWWWWWWWWW. Lifelong hate ever since. -True story.



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