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Native bees make a healthy honey no others make, and now we know how

Native bees make a healthy honey no others make, and now we know how

It’s not made by any other bee and is greater for you, and now scientists know how native stingless bees make healthy honey. 

Key parts:

  • Scientists came upon the rare healthy sugar outlandish to native stingless bee honey in 2020
  • The bees make it of their gut after ingesting nectar excessive in sucrose 
  • Researchers are now hoping to title plants with excessive sucrose nectar to increase production 

Researchers at the University of Queensland in collaboration with Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services and products have uncovered the essential of trehalulose — a sugar that is greater produced by the exiguous insect and does not spike blood glucose ranges when eaten. 

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Nectar sugars are largely glucose, fructose, and table sugar (sucrose), not trehalulose, so the quiz became “were the bees discovering it or making it?”

“We fed stingless bees some sugar solutions to take a glance at and regain out the origin of trehalulose,” UQ organic chemist and research leader Dr Natasha Hungerford said.

“Then we took two diverse solutions and fed them to a small colony of bees that were confined for a fast amount of time, 24 hours, and we fed them sucrose or table sugar.

“So there’s no sucrose left, which was fairly remarkable, really.”

Because of the outlandish way the native insect stores its honey — in small pots made from a mix of beeswax and tree resins — the researchers appeared at a alternative of potential sources for the special sugar, admire native trees and other issues within the atmosphere.

“What we came upon is that stingless bees have a outlandish capacity to transform sucrose to trehalulose and obtain honey wealthy in trehalulose of their gut,” Dr Hungerford said. 

Feeding the bees glucose and fructose did not obtain the same consequence, allowing the researchers to narrow in on sucrose. 

native bees gather around brown fibrous honey pots in a hive

Researchers investigated if the stingless bees’ honey pots were linked to the special sugar.(

Equipped: Tobias Smith/UQ


“What this tells us then is that if the bees are sourcing nectar that ties in sucrose from the atmosphere, then they may obtain the honey that’s excessive in trehalulose with the added health advantages,” Dr Hungerford said.

“Stingless bees are outlandish in that they they’re the greatest creatures that we know that obtain it in a food.”

Going with their gut

Stingless bees are came upon all the way via tropical and subtropical parts of the arena, but obtain significantly much less honey than the larger European honey bees that present the majority of the product on supermarket cabinets. 

Their honey is extremely prized as a specialty food, is regarded as medicinal in Indigenous cultures, and attracts a excessive note.

“In warmer climates, they have an inclination to obtain extra honey, whereas in cooler areas they may perfect obtain what they want for themselves.”

Dr Hungerford said the syrup produced within the experiment is not regarded as honey because it did not reach from nectar.

“The honey we produced within the lab is, in fact, fake honey, and we were able to differentiate it from natural honey by isotopic testing,” she said.

“This trehalulose-wealthy syrup that was produced can be regarded as a potential secondary made from stingless bees, but it certainly is not honey.

“It’s also not apt for the health of the hive to feed the bees perfect table sugar.”

Hunt for excessive sucrose plants

The hunt is now on to title what plants obtain nectar excessive in sucrose to provide apiarists a way to increase production.

A mid shot of a woman holding a timber box which has a native bee hive in it

Natasha Hungerford says the team will glance if it can increase trehalulose production.(

Equipped: UQ


“Potentially within the event that they’re being old to pollinate plants, the place there’s much less variation in flora around, but we’re wanting at the nectar to glance what form of ranges there are,” Dr Hungerford said. 

Native plants such as Grevillea and Banksia are believed to have nectar excessive in sucrose, and researchers will also investigate if macadamia, lychee, and avocado plants increase the ranges of trehalulose within the honey, which may make it significant extra valuable.

“Stingless bee honey is fairly rare, folks somewhat usually bask in their gain offers,” Dr Hungerford said.

“There are some folks that sell it and it does glean somewhat a excessive note. Or not it is usually sought after by excessive-wreck restaurants as a outlandish flavour to add to their dishes.

“The flavour of stingless bee honey is sought after because it be somewhat tangy and has a citrus note as well.”

The research was printed within the Journal of Agricultural and Meals Chemistry.

Native bees make a healthy honey no others make, and now we know how