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Product Frequently Asked Questions

My honey is starting to crystallize in the jar. What does that mean?

It's perfectly normal for honey to crystallize and does not mean that the quality of the honey has changed. All honey is primarily composed of two types of sugar:  glucose and fructose. Honeys high in fructose rarely crystallize, like Tupelo Honey. Honeys high in glucose have a stronger tendency to crystallize over time. Crystallization is natural and does not affect a honey’s flavor. Honey is least likely to crystallize if stored at room temperature. To re-liquefy your crystalized honey, stand the lightly sealed jar into a container of warm water for 20 minutes, or run under a hot tap. The honey will gently liquefy. You will want to stir it to speed even heating. Remember that our Winter White Honey is meant to be finely crystallized. Store it in a cooler location, but do not refrigerate or it may get too stiff to spread.

How should I store honeycomb?

The best way to keep raw honeycomb is at room temperature in a cabinet or on a countertop. Keep it in the plastic box to prevent any unwanted visitors from getting into it.  Of course, avoid exposing your honey to water. It does not need to be in a refrigerator, where it may begin to crystallize.

Is the comb edible?

The wax cells of honeycomb are not only edible, but very beneficial because they contain natural vitamin A as well as healthy roughage.

What is the shelf life of honey? Why is there an expiration date on the bottle?

Honey never spoils! Pots of still edible honey have been uncovered after thousands of years in Egyptian tombs. We mark an expiration date on some of our bottles as required by food stores, but that date is simply to meet their regulations. However, honey, unlike wine, tastes best during its first few years.

How can honey help my allergies?

There is some debate but many people tell us that eating honey reduces their allergy symptoms. Fresh, raw honey best preserves its natural benefits for this purpose. We once heard at a beekeeping convention that honeycomb is best for people with allergies and asthma. How and why we don’t know, but the worst side effect is a little burst of energy, so why not try it? We suggest that you enjoy a daily regimen of eating 1 tablespoon of raw honey or honeycomb once in the morning and once in the evening.

How do you get bees to make honey from just one kind of flower?

Each of our honey types are derived from different flower species. Bee hives are moved to an area where there is an abundance of a specific plant that is in bloom – such as in the swamps where the tupelo trees grow. The bees will go back to the same kind of flower over and over (called “flower fidelity”) to bring back the nectar from that one plant. After the bloom ends – usually about two weeks – the beekeepers remove the honey boxes and extract that honey. Then the beekeeper can relocate the hives to a new area where another species is blooming.

What makes one honey different from another?

The species of flower from which the bee gathered the nectar determines the color, flavor, and sugar composition of the honey. Buckwheat honey is black and strong in flavor, acacia honey is almost completely clear and mild. We mostly sell monofloral honey – nectar from one specific flower species. We like to say all honey is good, but some honey is great. And believe us, there is a big difference. Common commercial honey is often blended for color consistency without regard to taste.

What makes your Winter White Honey look different from your other honeys?

Savannah Bee Company adds a small percentage of finely crystalized honey to a very special variety of honey to encourage it to set up like frosted cream.

I hear that bees are disappearing. Is this true?

There has been quite a lot of buzz about colony collapse disorder and the disappearance of honeybees. Much of it is very alarming, and it is of concern to us. Things you can do: Start keeping some beehives. Do not use neonicotinoids or buy plants treated with them. Plant a diverse variety of flowers that successively bloom.

Is your honey from your own beehives?

In the beginning we did bottle honey from our own hives, but now we source our honey from responsible beekeepers who we know well. And we keep quality at least as good as what we made in the early days. In addition, we test a sample from each source using a specialized lab in Germany to confirm its precise composition, purity and quality.

Why should children younger than 1 not be given honey?

Botulinum endospores are found in the natural environment of dirt and dust, and the spores can contaminate honeys. That is why children younger than 1 should not be given honey. The developed digestive system of older children and adults destroy the spores. Infants, however, can contract botulism from honey as well as other foods that have the spores. Infantile botulism cases rarely trace back to honey, but because the spores can be found in some honey, it is best to avoid giving it to infants.

Can honey be used to heal wounds? If so, why does it work?

Honey is antimicrobial. The sugars can kill bacteria, and there are natural peroxides that form when honey is put on the skin that also help kill bacteria. Honey is used in medical applications when conventional antibacterial treatment with antibiotics and antiseptics have failed, such as with diabetic ulcers or antibiotic-resistant infections. Numerous studies have shown these difficult-to-heal wounds respond well to honey dressings. Honey promotes rapid healing with minimal scarring. Honey also can be used as first aid treatment for burns, as it has potent anti-inflammatory activity. New research shows that bees make a protein they add to the honey called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections. Scientists concluded that the vast majority of honey's antibacterial properties come from that protein. This information also sheds light on the inner workings of honeybee immune systems, which may one day help breeders create healthier and heartier honeybees.

Do all the bees in the hive survive the winter, and if so, how do they accomplish this?

Honey bees are social in that they have specific roles and they cooperate for the good of the hive so that they, unlike most insects, can live through the winter. Honeybees produce and store honey in the hive’s honeycomb for consumption during the winter. It fuels their shivering movements that generate heat, much like it is on a crowded dance floor. They maintain the hive at around 90 degrees throughout the winter. The further north the hive, the more honey needed for winter.

Help! There’s a huge mass of bees in my tree/yard! What do I do? Are they dangerous?

This is called a swarm, and the bees are not dangerous and are rarely defensive at this time because they have no home to defend. When a hive swarms, the queen bee and roughly half of the worker bees are moving to a new location to begin another beehive. They pile up and send out scout bees to find the ideal new home (a hollow tree for example). When the scouts determine the new home (they actually check out each other’s choices and make a communal decision) the entire swarm takes off in a “galaxy of bees” and flies to their new place.

The scary-looking swarm will usually disappear in a day. If bees have swarmed in an area of your home where children or pets can knock or disturb the swarm in any way, please find a local beekeeper to remove them, rather than an exterminator! (Note: If you are in an area that has Africanized honeybees, then they could be dangerous.)

What’s the best way to treat a bee sting?

Scrape the stinger sideways from your skin using a hive tool, long fingernail or credit card. If you pinch or squeeze the venom sack attached to the stinger, you risk squeezing the venom into your skin even more! You will get 1/3 the bee venom with the scraping technique. After that, the pain will subside within 5 minutes and you can take an antihistamine to reduce swelling. Otherwise, there isn’t much you can do to treat the sting itself.

How do I install the honey pump on my full bottle of honey?

Instructions are on the side of the box the pump comes in. Remove a spoon or two of honey so that the jar does not overflow when you insert the pump. Operate the pump as you insert it into the jar to begin filling the pump cylinder.

How do I reuse my honey pump?

To reuse your pump, remove it from the empty bottle and run under hot water, pumping to pull the water through the pump mechanism. Allow the pump to air dry before inserting it into the new jar.

Why isn’t Savannah Bee honey pasteurized?

Pasteurization requires heating a substance to a temperature that is lethal to bacteria. Since honey’s saturated sugar quality and its osmotic effect inhibits the growth of nearly all bacterial species, pasteurization isn’t necessary. Pasteurization also destroys the amino acids and enzymes in honey. Amino acids are one of the healthful properties of honey, and enzymes rapidly break down honey’s sugars after consumption. Pasteurized honey has a weak “sugary” flavor and maintains few health benefits. For these reasons, we suggest you eat honey that hasn’t been pasteurized.