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The Price Bees Pay In Order To Make Honey



October 9th, 2013 by in Animals with 550 Views

We all love honey and we all know that it comes from bees. However, have you ever taken time to think about how honey is made? It will amaze you to realize the pain bees have to go through just to ensure you enjoy honey! Here are the secrets behind how bees make honey:

1. The Forager Bee Has To Collect Nectar

When you see bees around flowering plants, it is not that they are idle and passing time. Instead, they are busy collecting nectar from such plants. Surprisingly, not all type of bees collect nectar. In their hives, different bees have different jobs allocated to them. Bees that collect nectar are known as the forager bees. They drink the nectar and store it in their honey stomachs (also known as the crop). More amazing is the fact that be nectar stored in their stomach is not digested at all!

forage bees

2. The processor Bee Gets the Nectar From the Forager Bee and processes it.

Once the forager bee has collected enough nectar, he takes it back to the hive. There, he meets the processor bee and regurgitate the nectar directly into his honey stomach. Once the processor bee has the honey in his stomach, he takes it to the honey comb located at the top of the hive and ‘vomits’ the nectar to a hexagonal wax cell.

honey bee

On the process of vomiting to the hexagonal wax cell, the processor bee adds the invertase enzyme to the nectar. This enzyme helps in ripening the nectar. The nectar has a composition of sugar and water which is broken down to glucose and fructose by the processor bee’s enzyme.

3. Ripening the nectar

Honey has very little water in its composition and that is why it is often very thick. During the ripening process, bees dry water from nectar. They do this by fanning their wings creating air flow which in turns evaporates the water around the honeycomb.

bees nectar

4. When the nectar is ripe…

When the nectar is ripe, it is honey! ripe nectar (also called honey) contains very little water (about 18% or less). This prevents the growth of microbes in honey and keeps it from contamination by bacteria. When the nectar is ripe, the bees close the cell with an airtight wax seal. The reason they ensure the wax is airtight is so that it cannot absorb moisture from the air.

honey comb

The process is not easy. It takes lots of nectar and work for bees to come up with a single comb of honey. The next time you are taking honey, appreciate the work it took the bees to come up with it. We need bees, see why here!

  • Geofrey Bett

    I am a great lover of honey and i have never taken time to think of how its made.This article has been a great lesson to me.I like the team work and role sharing bit of the honey making process.

    This is a great lesson to human being that for any success and sweet results, it requires team work and hard work.

  • MD Golam Rabbani

    Ants and bees are very hard working insects. We need to learn from them how to be a hard worker. The process of honey making is very complex and hard! Great and unique sharing, thanks.

  • liz soliven

    Bees are a good example of teamwork! They make it that far just to make honey, and we humans pull it out from them, how sad, we can repay by taking care of our nature and not abusing it with our advantage