The Honeybee

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

While the New World certainly knew and enjoyed honey before the arrival of European explorers, North America did not. The bees native to the New World, species of the genera Melipona and Trigona, are exclusively tropical. They also differ from the European honeybees in being stingless and in collecting fluids not just from flowers, but also from fruits, resins, and even carrion and excrement— sources that make for unhealthful honeys as well as rich and strange flavors. European colonization brought a fundamental change to North America by introducing, around 1625, the bee that produces practically all the honey in the world today, Apis mellifera.