How Does a Bee Make Honey?

After humans, Honey bees are by far the most industrious creatures on the planet.

Working tirelessly as a team to make honey and, in the process, pollinate plants all across the world. But how does a creature the size of a tic tac turn flower power into sweet honey?

Extreme magnification – Honey Bee

Everything begins at the flower. To make honey, worker bees will fly up to 5km searching for flowers; visiting up to 100 flowers on a single trip. Each flower contains sweet, sugary nectar. When it finds the perfect plant, the bee will dive into the flower and start sucking out the nectar through its long tongue.

t stores this nectar in a special honey stomach. When the nectar reaches the bee’s honey stomach, the stomach begins to break down the complex sugars of the nectar into more simple sugars ready to be transformed into honey. Doing this, the bee also collects dusty yellow pollen from each flower it visits. The bee spreads this pollen as it travels from plant to plant, helping the plants reproduce! Bees aren’t just honey producers, their flower hunting is key to the production of fruits, vegetables, and grains like corn all across the world!

 

Acacia Comb Honey
Acacia Comb Honey

Once it’s filled up, the bee will carry a load of nectar nearly its own weight back to the hive, where the honey making process is completed. Honey making is a team effort. 

In the hive, the worker bee gives his nectar to the younger house bees. They pass the nectar to each other, mouth to mouth, for about half an hour; lowering the nectar’s water content until it becomes thick and sticky.

 

Once they’re happy with their cooking, the bees deposit the honey into their honeycomb, where they seal it off like a little jar. Finally, the bees air dry their honey through gently flapping their wings. Honey can sit in the honeycomb for months, until it is used to feed adult bees and babies alike through the winter months.

 

A colony of bees can visit up to 50 million flowers each day! Since there are thousands of types of flowers in the world, there are also thousands of unique flavours of honey. It takes 300 bees about three weeks to gather 450 g of honey.

 

So next time you’re enjoying some delicious honey, be sure to thank the chefs!

Thank you for reading 

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