Since prehistoric years, Cretans were familiar with honey making and included it in their diet. For many centuries, honey was the alone known sweetening substance. Olympic Gods were nourished with nectar and ambrosia. Aristaios, son of Apollo and Kyrini, was the founder of beekeeping and had become immortal, because Earth and Hours, who looked after him, nourished him with ambrosia.
The kind of bee which is domesticated by humans belongs to Apis (species Apis mellifica). Initially, bees were kept in hampers of various types, in wooden boxes, in earthen containers, in concave tree trunks etc. The apiarist simply took certain combs, crushed them and acquired a product of medium quality.
The creation of beehives with mobile frames as well as that of artificial combs applied on the frames, brought big changes: less wasted honey, candle and work required by swarms, convenient supervising of the bee colony, fighting of illnesses etc.
Location plays a very important role on the success of an apiarian business. The ideal location would be one with abundant and continuous blossom during spring, summer and automn, so that bees can harvest high quality honey, they can renew their population and saved up enough food for the wintry months.
Crete is a place rich in plants like thyme, sage, oregano, pine trees, acacias, eucalyptus and of course the cultivated citrus fruits. Thyme honey seen as a particular category, because of its special aroma and flavour; even if thyme honey is mixed in small quantities (5%) with other types of honey, it manages to influence their perfume. Production of thyme honey is quite developed in Crete, however Cretan thyme honey is not correctly promoted or highly priced. The regions that give pine in Crete are Sfakia and the region "Selakiano” in Lasithi.
Honey is mainly produced from flowers, thyme and pine trees in the areas of “Sfakia” and "Lasithi”. Honey from olive trees is not easily collected because of the weather conditions (heat in summer, rain in winter); thus its production has been restricted in the last five years.
Usually, apiarists mix different kinds of honey; Our company’s production focuses on thyme honey without mixtures and alterations of quality, because we believe that the most important thing is to keep the quality of honey as pure as possible.
Honey: According to the F.A.O. (Food Agriculture Organization), honey is defined as a sweet product-food that is produced by bees when they collect nectar or other natural juices from plants. Bees carry nectar in their beehive and store it in their comps.
The most frequent use of honey is on the family table, but it is also used in patisserie, in pharmaceutics for medicine syrups etc.
WAX: In most regions the wax is a by-product of apiculture. Raw material is heated in 630 C, therefore wax melts and it goes up on the surface, where it is cools and hardens. It then receives further treatment in order to be used again in the production of candles of quality, cosmetics, in art and in industry.
POLLEN: A big beehive accumulates 25-30 kilos of pollen annually, quantity bigger than the one the swarm needs.
ROYAL PULP: It constitutes the only food of the queen’s larvae, and is a substance rich in proteins, with a lot of nutritious and therapeutic elements.
PROPOLIS: It is a kind of resin that is collected by the bees from various trees. It has therapeutic and antibiotic attributes, while it is also used in pharmacy.