Collecting wild honey from the Slavs
Today, honey of wild bees is exotic for us, although historically, not so long ago in Russia, this product was the only sweetness that people had at their disposal. And they were able to produce a large amount of this wonderful product in difficult wildlife conditions, trying, at the same time, not only not to destroy bee colonies, but also to help them resettle in new dwellings. Read more about the collection of honey from wild bees in Russia, read further in the article.
History of the craft
In Russia, honey was a product in great demand. Being the only sweetness available then, it was, besides, the main ingredient in the majority of intoxicated drinks, the prototype of the famous "mead." Accordingly, people who mined this product in the forests of that time were also respected members of society.
They were called flight attendants, which was derived from the word "side", meaning a hole or hollow. It was in the hollows of the trees that wild bees equipped their dwellings by building honeycombs in them and filling them with honey. Bortniki, climbing trees (sometimes to a 5-meter height), smoked bees from the hollow with smoke, and took the honeycombs.
At home, they manually extracted honey from them, since, of course, there were no modern centrifugal machines. They initially raked all the combs from the barrel clean. But then came the understanding that thereby leaving the bee family for the winter without food, dooming it to starvation. And not out of pity, but by pure calculation, they began to leave part of the honeycombs for wintering to the bee family.
As a result, the number of honey collection sites did not decrease, to the obvious benefit of the storkers. The next step in the development of beekeeping was the creation of artificial hollows in trees and the transplantation of new bee colonies in them. The sides created by human hands were more comfortable than wild bees.
Did you know? A bee is capable of lifting and carrying a load whose weight is 40 times its own weight.
They were equipped not only with a letok, that is, with an entrance to the hive for insects flying in and out, but also longer, which is an additional move for ventilation and sanitary purposes. As a result, the extraction of a valuable product has increased dramatically.
As a rule, there were from 50 to 80 boards per stranger. Later, real “onboard farms” appeared, including up to a thousand points of wild honey extraction. Here, hired workers were already needed to service them.
The weight of the swarm of 1 bee family reaches 7 kg
How wild bees differ from domestic ones
Among the existing almost 20 thousand bee species, wild forest honey bees occupy a rather modest place. They become so rare insects that they are even listed in the Red Book.
They differ from the usual domestic bees:
- darker gray color without bright yellow stripes on the abdomen;
- more dense hair, allowing them to better tolerate low temperatures;
- a larger head;
- more aggressive character;
- more caution;
- higher performance;
- more disease resistant.
What was the name of wild honey collection in Russia and what are its features
As already mentioned, the process of collecting wild honey from the Eastern Slavs was called storagism.
And wild honey itself is different:
- dark brown color;
- thick consistency;
- the ability to not crystallize for a long time;
- long preservation;
- astringency of taste;
- original aroma with woody-herbal notes;
- interspersed with propolis, wax, bee bread, royal jelly.
This bee product is abundantly saturated with useful substances, the vast majority of which are of great value to human health:
- almost the whole set of vitamins;
- micro and macro elements;
- amino acids;
- hormonal substances.
Important! With all its usefulness, honey of wild bees is not recommended for children under 2 years old, as well as for pregnant and lactating women.
- The abundance of nutrients determines the ability of honey of wild bees to contribute:
- the fight against inflammatory processes;
- strengthening the immune system;
- normalization of the nervous system;
- optimizing the functioning of the digestive system;
- improved appetite;
- activation of diuretic and choleretic functions of the body;
- inhibition of aging processes at the cellular level;
- restoration of mental and physical strength after heavy loads;
- activation of metabolic processes.
What were the popular types of hives
At first, as already mentioned above, the flight workers engaged in clean honey collection, simply taking part of the honey from the bee family. In order to expand "production", they cut down hollow trees in the trees to settle new bee families there. The sides were randomly located in different parts of the forest, where there were large glades with honey plants nearby.
To get around all the points of honey collection, it took a lot of time and effort. Therefore, the idea was born in a natural way to somehow "concentrate" the sides in a limited area. To do this, trees with bee hollows began to be chopped, that is, cut down, and taken to one place, which became known as the apiary.
It was located near the honey plants, the brought decks were protected from the bears with pointed stakes. So the primitive honey collection was replaced by beekeeping.
Over time, the beekeepers began to make special hives instead of decks, which according to the installation method were divided into:
The risers were mounted vertically on a pair of wooden poles, and the loungers were located at 45 ° to the ground.
In the southern regions, with more gentle winters, the use of hives in the form of:
- lozoviki made from vines;
- straw boilers made, respectively, of straw;
- hollows, which are beehives hollowed out in a tree, opening from below;
- sapetki, which were made of willow twigs and coated on both sides with clay.
Important! If the market offers wild honey of light color, candied and «similar» price, then this is probably a fake, at best consisting of the product of ordinary domestic bees.
The collection of honey from wild bees, known to man for more than 7 thousand years, during these millennia practically did not undergo significant metamorphoses. And today, modern storages go in August for this product to the forest, where they remember to create new hollows for young bee families. And the construction of beehives turned into an independent industry - cultural beekeeping.