Honeydew Honey — A Strong, Dark Honey
Honeydew Honey is known to be one of the most unique, most intriguingly exotic honeys in the world. It has
been acclaimed as a special honey even among the specialties. The bees love the honeydew and feed on it
to culminate into an absolutely spectacular and 100% organic end product, making it uniquely different from
regular honey made from the flower blossom nectar most of us know.
Honeydew Honey or Forest Honey is a type of honey made — not from blossom nectar — but from honeydew
excreted by plant sucking insects such as aphids. It is usually produced from trees, both conifers and
deciduous, although it may also produced from grasses and plants.
The ancient Roman naturalist Pliny thought honeydew fell from the stars and this belief was held for
centuries. It was as recent as the 1960s that some beekeepers believed that honeydew collected by bees
was sweated out or exuded from trees and plants although it was determined by the French naturalist,
Reaumur in 1740 to be produced by aphids.
This strong-tasting, mineral-rich, savory honey is the result of a relationship between aphids and bees that
is common throughout the world, yet unbeknownst to most.
Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid, secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap.
When their mouthpart penetrates the phloem, vascular tissue in plants that conducts sugars and other
metabolic products downward from the leaves, the sugary, high-pressure liquid is forced out of the anus of the
Honeydew is particularly common as a secretion in hemipteran insects (cicadas, aphids, planthoppers,
leafhoppers, and others ) and is often the basis for trophobiosis, a symbiotic relation in which one organism
protects the other in return for some kind of food product. mutualism. Some caterpillars of Lycaenidae butterflies
and some moths also produce honeydew
Why do aphids eject honeydew in the first place? Normally waste products of insects or animals are not
particularly appetizing except to dung beetles, fungus and bacteria. Yet honeydew is eaten by a wide variety
of insects and animals, and by humans. It is so prized by ants they actually tend their ‘herds’ of aphids and
protect them from predators to harvest their honeydew. Why don’t the aphids digest the honeydew as food
for themselves, or is it created perhaps as an incentive for the ant’s protection?
It turns out that while aphids use some of the sugars and other nutrients in the plant sap, they must process
a large amount of sap to get usable amounts of proteins. Plant sap only contains about 1-2% of proteins. The
rest is expelled and actually ejected away from the insect to land on leaves or needles, branches and the
ground below. If an aphid-covered branch is suddenly jostled they will release their honeydew in a fine misty
Honeydew flow is often strong in late dry summers. It may be known generically as “Forest Honey” or
“Tree Honey” but also by the name of the particular source plant, “Fir Honey”, “Pine Honey”, “Lime Tree
Honey”, “Oak Honey” etc. So that even today many people believe this honey is created from sap secreted
directly from the tree itself. This is not the case. Only about 1% of the time do plants exude a honeydew-like
substance directly that bees will use, and this is usually as the result of an injury or shock to the plant.
Honeydew honey is highly appreciated in certain parts of the world by connoisseurs and honey lovers alike
for its strong flavor and healthful properties. While honeydew is produced in North America, the honey is not
Color: Dark to very dark, honey colored, sometimes with green fluorescence.
Taste: Intensity: medium, woody and warm. Medium sweetness with weak acidity. No
bitterness with a medium aroma. Medium persistence/aftertaste and sometimes astringent.
Aroma: Woody and warm.
While the composition of honeydew honey varies by the type of insect and plant, just as the composition of
blossom honey varies by the type of blossom, there are some common differences. In general, honeydew
honey is higher in minerals and amino acids as well as higher molecular weight sugars (oligosaccharides).
Oligosaccharides are prebiotics that have a beneficial effect on bacteria in the digestive system.
Honeydew honey tends to
be darker, less sweet, less acidic and resists crystallization when compared to honey. Honeydew honey has
higher electrical conductivity and ash content and tends to remain liquid and resist crystallization because
of high fructose and low glucose levels, as well as a low glucose to water ratio. There has been some
research that indicates that honeydew honey also has higher than average antibiotic properties due to
higher levels of Glucose Oxidase which leads to the production of Hydrogen Peroxide.
Plants had to solve a problem: they needed to find ways to spread their genetic material.
Flying pollinators were nature's solution. Nectar is made as a reward for pollinators.
Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about bees—our favorite essential pollinators
working around the world. This quiz is intended for fun, in a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.
Spring begins andhungry pollinators are on the wing, looking for food. From
the moment emerge in spring to the time that they hibernate or migrate in the fall, pollinators
need to eat.