At present, these miscellaneous products are used for both commercial and personal purposes. Relatively little data on such commercial markets exist. The following sections briefly summarize the information available to date.
Honey and by products
Consumer demand for honey is increasing as the public moves toward healthier, more natural foods. Honey is a sweet, sticky substance produced by the common honeybee, by using nectar gathered from flowers. Consumers may use honey as a food product alone or as a sugar substitute. Honeybees also produce beeswax and other byproducts, such as bee pollen and royal jelly. Beeswax is used in candles, polishes and cosmetics. Royal jelly is promoted in health food stores a nutrient and as a source of energy (Thomas and Schumann 1993).
In British Columbia, the nectar of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) is used extensively in wild honey production. Many commercial bee-keepers establish hives in recently burned or logged areas to produce fireweed honey. This honey has a unique flavor and is highly sought after.
Maple syrup is a sugary, sweet liquid produced by boiling the sap of maple trees. The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) native to eastern North America is the species most often used for syrup production. However, sap may also be produced from British Columbia’s native big leaf maple (A. macrophyllum). Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) is also used in British Columbia to produce syrup.
Wood smoke from tree species such as alder, apple and cherry is often used in smokehouses, home barbecues or restaurants to enhance the flavor of food. In British Columbia, for example, mountain alder (Alnus tenuifolia) wood is commonly used to smoke fish and other meats, while red alder (A. rubra) wood is frequently used in restaurant grilling.