A honeycomb is the amazing structure that bees build with honey. It can also be called beeswax and it is edible. Some people consider it a delicacy to eat the honeycomb, since it could be called extra-concentrated honey. It takes about 16 grams of honey to produce a gram of the waxy structure that makes up the honeycomb. Others eat honeycomb of specific types in the hope that it will reduce seasonal allergies. There’s very little evidence to support that this works, but it may be the tastiest remedy for allergies.
When beekeepers harvest honey, they remove sections of the comb and place it in a centrifuge machine to remove the liquid honey that drips from each hexagon in the comb. Some people object to this, and it’s virtually impossible to make cruelty free honey. A few bees do get stuck in the comb sections and are killed during this process. Vegans may abstain from eating honey products for this reason. It’s extremely important to keep the bee population up in order to sustain an active hive, so while there may be a few bees that inadvertently get into the comb when it’s processed, beekeepers do try to keep this to a minimum.
Scientists and just about anyone who’s looked at a honeycomb absolutely marvel at its structure. Typically, each piece of the comb is hexagonal (six-sided), with a precise 120-degree angle for each side. This can bend a bit when the comb is cut or processed, but the pattern is almost identical between one hexagon and the next. People are amazed at the precision with which bees build each section of the comb, but the size is important for the bees. They store food there, excrete honey into the comb and use each comb to raise young bees. Precision in architecture is likely involved in survival of the bee population.
You can find honeycomb at natural foods stores, some specialty markets, and sometimes at local farmer’s markets. It’s definitely worth trying. As a food for people, honeycomb doesn’t have a lot of practical applications, though honey certainly is an excellent sweetener. Other animals, particularly brown and black bears do consume honeycomb when they can get it. Although to take it as bears do, straight from the hive, is not suggested for people who are not in appropriate safety clothing. As many know, bees are not very forgiving.