Do you know how bees make honey? It’s actually a pretty interesting process, and it’s all gratefulness to the hard work of these little pollinators. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at exactly how bees make honey, and we’ll also explore some of the benefits of this delicious superfood. So if you’re curious about honey bee biology, read on!
How Bees Make Honey
Bees make honey by extracting nectar from flowers and mixing it with enzymes in their stomachs. The bees then store the honey in wax cells inside the hive, where it is gradually converted into honey. This incredible efficiency of honeybee’s job to produce the honey is unmatched by any other kinds including human. Each bee in the beehive has a unique job and everything runs smoothly.
The honey produced by the bees will be used as its own foods for the whole bee family. Bees are fed with two types of foods; the honey made from nectar or the sweet juice in the flowers, and the pollen which comes from the flowers’ anthers.
Let’s follow the honeybee, from her flower to her hive, and see what happens. Most honeybees collect only nectar or pollen. The nectar she collects from flowers is stored in her honey stomach, ready for transfer to honey-making bees in her hive. She can open a valve in her nectar “sac”, and some of the payload will pass through her stomach to be used for energy.
The bee is an amazing flying machine. The bee can carry almost twice her own weight in pollen or nectar. You’ll be amazed at the feat of the honeybee, who can fly with a payload as small as one-quarter the weight of her own aircraft.
The honeybee returns to her hive when her nectar “sacss” are empty. The nectar is given to an indoor bee and then is passed mouth-to–mouth from one bee to another until it is about 70% to 20%. This transforms the nectar into honey. Because of the 32.5degC temperature in the hive, some nectar may be stored in the honeycomb at once.
The honey is then placed in storage containers and sealed with beeswax to ensure that the baby bees arrive in good health. The larvae are fed pollen mixed with nectar. If the bee community is going to thrive, a baby bee must have food high in protein.
The bee cleans, combs, and takes care of herself before returning to the flower for more pollen. She is not vain, but to be more efficient. The bee will tirelessly collect pollen throughout her entire life, returning it to the hive and cleaning herself before setting out again to find more.
Three weeks old, forager bees leave the hive to search for blossom patches. They are only six to seven weeks old, so they have a lot of work and very little time. 300 bees take around three weeks to collect 450g of honey. A hive can house 40,000 bees on average. Lear more about honeybee here.
What Kind of Flowers the Bees Collect Nectar From
Bees collect nectar from a variety of different flowers, depending on the type of honey they are making. For example, bees that make clover honey will collect nectar from clover flowers, while bees that make wildflower honey will collect nectar from a variety of different flowers.
The different flavors and colors of honey
Honey comes in many different flavors and colors, depending on the type of flower the bees collected the nectar from. Some popular types of honey include clover honey, wildflower honey, lavender honey, and buckwheat honey. You maybe able to distinguish the different tastes of the honey if you collect them from the wild bees’s hives. However, the honey on the market is more like a human control which taste is not as original as the wild one.
How do people harvest honey from a beehive
Honey is typically harvested from a beehive by hand or using a honey extractor. The honey extractor removes the honey from the wax cells in the hive and transfers it to a container. There are various types of honey extractors but it can be categorized into two types: the manual one and the automatic one. You can learn more detailed process of honey harvesting here and check the different types of honey extractors in this list.
Uses for honey in cooking and baking
Honey is recognized as a delicious ingredient in both cooked and baked dishes. It can be used to sweeten desserts, sauces, and marinades, or it can be added to batters and doughs. In the past, honey is considered as the greatest medicine to help cure the wound, stomachache and many other diseases. But with human creativity, honey has now been used in various foods and cakes. It’s also among the most expensive ingredients comparing to other sugar types.
Honey as a natural sweetener
Honey is a natural sweetener that contains less sugar than other sweeteners such as table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Honey also has a lower glycemic index, which means it does not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. This makes honey a healthier alternative to other sweeteners. So if you look for a healthier diet sweetener, honey is what you should look for.
Bees are amazing creatures that play a vital role in our ecosystem. Not only do they help pollinate flowers, but they also produce honey, which is a delicious and healthy superfood. Thanks for reading!