Comb honey is honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...
, intended for consumption, which still contains pieces of the hexagonal-shaped beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...
cells of the honeycomb
A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal waxcells built by honey bees in their nests to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen.Beekeepers may remove the entire honeycomb to harvest honey...
Before the invention of the honey extractor
A honey extractor is a mechanical device used in the honey extraction. A honey extractor extracts the honey from the honey comb without destroying the comb. Extractors work by centrifugal force. A drum or container holds a frame basket which spins, flinging the honey out...
almost all honey produced was in the form of comb honey. Today, most honey is produced for extraction but comb honey remains popular among consumers both for eating 'as is' and for combining with extracted honey to make Chunk Honey. Hobbyists and sideliners can best develop their beekeeping skills by producing comb honey, which they can easily sell for several times its value as extracted honey. Comb honey production is more suitable for areas with a prolonged honeyflow from dutch clover, alsike, and yellow clover. Wooded areas are not very suitable for comb honey production, as bees tend to collect much propolis
Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps , while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its...
, which makes the harvesting of comb honey much more difficult. This problem has been largely circumvented with the adoption of specialized frames which prevent accumulation of propolis on saleable units.
Populous honey bee colonies are usually reduced to single hive bodies at the beginning of the honeyflow when one or more comb honey supers are added. Comb honey can either be produced in wooden sections, shallow frames, or Ross Rounds. The successful production of comb honey requires that the hive remain somewhat crowded without overcrowding, which leads to swarming. Young prolific queens help rapid colony population expansion with less likelihood of swarming. Caucasian Apis mellifera bees are often preferred for their tendency to keep a constricted brood nest and for their production of white wax cappings, making more attractive honey combs.