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How Bees Make Honey


The fact that honey is both nutritious and delicious is hardly in doubt. What makes honey so amazing is how it is made. The life of a honey bee is dedicated to supporting the colony at large. Each bee has a job that must be done to ensure the colony’s success. One way that bees work together to ensure that the hive succeeds is through the production and storage of honey.

The process of honey-making is incredibly amazing. Let us learn more about why bees actually make honey and the exact way they do it. However, before getting into it, here are some interesting facts about honey that will surprise you:

- Not all bees make honey. In fact, there are just about 7 species of honey bees. Honey bees collect pollen and nectar during their foraging trips to make honey that’s then stored for the cold winter months.

- A honey bee visits 100 flowers in a single foraging trip.

- Worker bees make just about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey over the course of their short (six-week) lifespan.

- Honey bees travel a 4- to 5- mile radius foraging for nectar and pollen. Honey bees travel approximately 55,000 miles to make just one pound of honey.

- A large colony of honey bees can eat up to 100 to 200 pounds of honey in a single year. See Flux pump to see how honey and other is pumped in a safe professional manner.

Why Do Bees Make Honey?

Bees are both practical and smart. Worker bees are busy collecting pollen and nectar during the spring and summer so that they can make stores of honey for the winter. Bees cannot survive outside the hive in the cold winter months. Food sources are also incredibly scarce during winter.

Honey bees make as much honey as possible when it is warm to support the colony during the “offseason.” Honey is fed to the young. New honey bees eat the pollen and nectar to ensure that they are strong and ready to work once it is spring.

How Do Bees Actually Make Honey?

Honey production is a multi-step process, as you may imagine. Let’s follow the honey bees through each step as they make this amazing food for the colony.

Step 1: Nectar Collection by Worker Bees

Once the worker bees find a good source of nectar, they get to work. Using their proboscis, they suck up nectar from the inside of flowers, usually visiting over 100 flowers on a single foraging trip.

The nectar, as well as some honey bee saliva, is then stored in a special sac known as a honey stomach. The worker bees then return to the hive once their honey stomachs are full to drop the load off.

Step 3: Nectar Passed from Worker Bees to House Bees

Back at the hive, bees referred to as the house bees wait for the foraging worker bees to return. The worker bees pass the nectar to the waiting bees so that the honey-making process can start. As the nectar is chewed and passed from bee to bee, enzymes change its pH and other chemical properties.

The mixture of nectar and enzyme at this stage, however, contains too much water to be stored over the winter. Therefore, the bees have to work on drying it out.

Step 3: Honey Dehydration

Some of the water is removed from the honey when it is being passed from bee to bee. However, bees use two other methods to dry out the honey. First, they will spread the honey over the honeycomb, which increases the surface area thus allowing for increased water evaporation.

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