The process of honey making or how do bees make honey?

The honey is a bee product obtained through the transformation and processing of the nectar and dew gathered by honeybees and stored in the comb cells. Nectar is made of water (80%) and some complex sugars. Many plants use nectar as a way of encouraging insects, including bees, to stop at the flower. In the process of gathering nectar, the insect transfers pollen grains from one flower to another, thus causing plant pollination.

The honey producing process is a very complex one, that starts with the transformation of nectar into honey and ending with the capping of the honeycomb cells. The working bees suck nectar or dew with the help of their tube like tongues and store it for a while in their glossa or honey stomach, where it is mixed with saliva. Honeybees have tow stomachs, one they use to store nectar and another, which is their regular stomach. Their additional stomach can store around 70 mg of nectar, almost the bee's weight. In order to fill this special stomach, bees have to gather the nectar from 100 to 1500 flowers.

When they arrive into the hive they transfer the sugary content to the working bees in the hive. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. The bees in the hive, chew the nectar for almost an hour. During this process the complex sugars in the nectar are devised into simple sugars, in order to make them more digestible and less sensible to bacteria attack while the honey is stored into the honeycomb cells. Enzymes produced by bees turn the sucrose (a disaccharide) into glucose and fructose (monosaccharides).

After chewing it, the bees spread the nectar on the honeycombs. The water evaporates living beside thick syrup. The nectar dries fast because the bees fan their wings. The bees seal off the thick syrup into honeycomb cells with the help of a wax cap. The honey is stored there until the bees it or until the beekeeper harvests it.

Honey is the food on which the entire colony feeds. A family of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey per year. The honey gathering represents the main purpose of past and present beekeeping.

What is honey > How is honey made? > The honeybee > The queen bee > The drone >

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