HOW DO BEES MAKE HONEY?
It starts with flowers!
Flowers make nectar and pollen. The nectar is a sugary liquid. This nectar literally woos the bees to the flowers.
As the bees are attracted to the nectar they harvest it by their straw-like tongues. Their tongues are called a proboscis.
Using their proboscis they suck the nectar out of the flowers.
From their tongue, it goes Into their second stomach. It is different from their first stomach where food goes.
Did you know that bees have 2 stomachs? One for food and one for storing nectar.
The nectar mixes with enzymes in the stomach. The purpose is to break down the larger sugars such as sucrose and convert into glucose and fructose.
The forager bee goes back to the hive and passes the nectar to a house bee. The house bee keeps regurgitating and then re drinks the nectar for about 20 minutes, breaking down the sugars even more
Once the nectar has been fully broken down, it is deposited into the honeycomb. The bees then go into intense fanning to get rid of any water. Making sure most of the water evaporates.
Now we can see how the expression busy as a bee is so appropriate!
After the fanning, the bees cap the honeycomb with wax and then move on to the next empty comb. This is their job so it is done over and over again.
Did you know this? The honey bees fly thousands of miles back and forth searching for the nectar and then depositing the nectar back to the hive during their short 40- day life span.
During the winter when the flowers are not blossoming the bees feed off their stored honey. It is ideal for bees because it is full of nutrients and energy.
So for bees, honey is their food. And they work hard creating the honey to make sure they have food during the winter.
Because the bees need only a small amount during the winter, the beekeepers harvest the extra honey only.
The honey-filled combs from the hives are extracted by taking off the wax cap and then placing the beehives frames in a centrifuge.
Once all the honey has been extracted the beekeeper can return the honeycomb back into the beehive. The bees don’t have to rebuild comb that way.
For all the work a bees does, in its lifetime, it only makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. Amazing fact!
Should the bees have to rebuild the comb it takes them about a week.
Many times, the honeycombs are melted down to be made into candles.
Did you know bees make something besides honey?
It is called propolis. They gather the sap of evergreens and mix it with their own discharges and beeswax.
It creates a stick greenish-brown product used as a coating to build their hives.
Depending on the location of the bees, trees, and flowers they have access to is dependent on the medicinal capacity.
Because like honey it has many medicinal uses like antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory.
The other product that honey bees produce is pollen. Bee pollen is a ball of pollen made by young bees when they land on a flower. It’s a mixture of pollen, saliva, and nectar or honey. Bees carry these balls back to the hive in sacs on their legs and store them in the hive’s honeycomb. The pollen then ferments into “bee bread,” which feeds a bee colony
So there you have it. That is how Bees make honey.
Such an interesting process isn’t it? And a delicious end result for us.