Honey is rich in sugar, which can be broken down into carbohydrates. A honeybee starts the honey making process by visiting a flower and gathering some of its nectar.Many plants use nectar as a way of encouraging insects (bees, wasps, butterflies, etc.) In return, the insects help fertilize the flowers by transmitting pollen particles clinging to their bodies from flower to flower during their foraging activities. In this synergetic relationship, both parties benefit: Bees and other insects gain food while simultaneously transmitting the pollen necessary to fertilization and seed production in the flowering plants. Bees need carbohydrates for optimal health. Some native stingless bees are found only in Australia — Tetragonula carbonaria and Austroplebeia australis. Later, they flap their wings to draw out the moisture. So by transferring pollen between flowers, bees also help pollinate flowers. Once the honey has dried, the house bees put a lid over the honey cell using fresh beeswax. But by transforming the nectar into honey, the bees create an efficient and usable carbohydrate that is only 14 to 18 percent water and one that can be stored almost indefinitely without fermenting or spoiling. Once the honey becomes thick, it is ready to be eaten. Nectar has 80% water and honey has only about 14 – 18% water. Once enough nectar is collected, the bees bring it back to the hive. Step 3. You can also buy honey in granulated form or whipped or creamed to make it easier to spread. Also, bees don’t just collect nectar to make honey. Hives that are built out in the open are not sustainable. How Do Bees Make Hives? Honey can vary in color, flavor, and antioxidant level, depending on where it is produced because it can be made from so many different trees and flowers. Honey can be purchased in several different forms. The honey bees work hard to make honey. These often turn into the seeds of the fruits. A tablespoon of honey contains 60 calories, 16 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of carbs. Nectar is the main ingredient for honey and also the main source of energy for bees. A single worker bee lives only a few weeks and in that time produces only about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. How Do Bees Make Honey? How Bees Make Honey It has been said that except for man, nowhere in the world is there anything to compare with the incredible efficiency of the industry of the honeybee. The production of honey by bees involves several chemical processes, including digestion, regurgitation, enzyme activity, and evaporation. Bees are smart and practical. Usually, they’ll visit between 50 and 100 flowers per trip. Next, the hive bees beat their wings furiously, fanning the nectar to evaporate its remaining water content; evaporation is also helped by the temperature inside a hive being a constant 93 to 95 F. As the water evaporates, the sugars thicken into a substance recognizable as honey. How do bees make honey? During the winter, bees do not have the energy to leave the hive and search for food. All bees have different roles. It comes from floral nectars or other insects’ secretions and is stored in honeycombs. The foragers drink the nectar, and store it in their crop, which is also called the honey stomach. For most regions, honey production is not a year-round thing. © Copyrights 2016, TELANGANA PUBLICATIONS PVT. Why Do Bees Make Honey? Step 2. The bees then store the honey in a honeycomb, which is a structure made up of lots of hexagonal cells that the bees make out of wax. While this is a common condiment, bees do not necessarily create honey for humans to benefit. Though humans can enjoy the many health benefits offered by honey, it is primarily essential for bees to survive the winter months. Using its straw-like proboscis, a forager bee drinks the liquid nectar from a flower and stores it in a special organ called the honey stomach. Debbie Hadley is a science educator with 25 years of experience who has written on science topics for over a decade. The honey is stored in the honey comb until it is eaten. The sweet, viscous honey we take for granted as a sweetener or cooking ingredient is the product of industrious honeybees working as a highly organized colony, collecting flower nectar and converting it into a high-sugar food store. When it's ready, they seal the cell with a wax lid to keep it clean. How Do Bees Make Honey? Honey is not possible at all without nectar from flowering plants. At the moment the nectars reach the honey stomach, enzymes begin to break down the complex sugars of the nectar into simpler sugars that are less prone to crystallization. The nectar is chewed up and deposited into honeycomb wax cells. Here's how bees make honey: Step 1. The house bee ingests the sugary offering from the forager bee, and its own enzymes further break down the sugars. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, 10 Possible Causes of Colony Collapse Disorder, History of the Human Management of Honey Bees, The Roles of Queens, Drones, and Worker Honey Bees, 15 Misconceptions Kids (And Adults) Have About Insects, B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University. How Do Bees Make Honey? But working cooperatively, a hive's thousands of worker bees can produce more than 200 pounds of honey for the colony within a year. While most foraging bees are dedicated to collecting nectar for the production of honey, about 15 to 30 percent of the foragers are collecting pollen on their flights out from the hive. For humans, it's a "less bad" sweetener than refined sugar, because honey contains antioxidants and enzymes. A honeybee colony generally consists of one queen bee—the only fertile female; a few thousand drone bees, which are fertile males; and tens of thousands of worker bees, which are sterile females. I did some homework, and can now explain it to her – and to you. Meanwhile, they return to their hive, they pass nectar between each other in a “game of regression telephone” which helps it turn into honey. The yellow fuzzy honey bee is just one of over 20,000 bee species in the world. With a full belly, the forager bee heads back to the hive and regurgitates the already modified nectar directly to a younger house bee. Nectar is the main ingredient for honey and also the main source of energy for bees. During the winter, the colony will need to continue feeding around 20,000 workers and a queen. A colony of bees can visit up to 50 million flowers each day, with as many as 60,000 bees in each colony. LTD. All rights reserved. They then turn the nectar into honey by drying it out using a warm breeze made with their wings. Nectar is the main ingredient for honey and also the main source of energy for bees. This process is the reason honey can last such a long time. Why do Honey Bees Make Honey? First, older forager worker bees fly out from the hive in search of nectar-rich flowers. For honey particularly, Google receives a staggering 2,900 monthly searches for ‘How do bees make honey?’ The meticulous process of pollination to plate is an evolutionary masterpiece, highlighting the power of instinct, community and biology. Evaporating Honey. Read more: One, then some: how to count like a bee. All honey consumed by people is produced by only seven different species of honeybees. Usually, they’ll visit between 50 and 100 flowers per trip. Why do bees make honey requiring so much effort by so many bees? Different honey bees have different jobs. When one of the honeycombs gets filled up the bees close it with a … Once the honey has dried out, they cover the honey cell using fresh beeswax. Bees make honey from nectar gathered from flowers. Beehives are made of six-sided tubes, shaped for optimal and efficient honey production; as such, beehives require less wax and can hold more honey. Throughout the warm months of the year thousands of worker bees toil day and night to produce honey. In the winter, when there is not as much nectar available, the bees open this lid and share the honey they saved. Not many plants bloom during the cold season. Using a long straw-like tongue called a proboscis, honey bees suck up nectar droplets from the flower. The bees will cluster together to protect the queen and will only move short distances (less than a few inches) to feed. It cannot be stored for any length of time by the insects. The bee continues to forage until its honey stomach is full, visiting 50 to 100 flowers per trip from the hive. Giant honey bee (Apis dorsata) in Nepal and Indonesia live at the top of high cliffs and large trees. to stop at the flower.In the process of gathering nectar, the insect transfers pollen grains from one flower to another and pollinates the flower. To make honey, worker honey bees fly up to 5km searching for flowers and their nectar. For example, eucalyptus honey may seem to have a hint of menthol flavor. The actual process of transforming the flower nectar into honey requires teamwork. #FastFact. When they visit flowers, they also collect pollen – which is a great source of protein to keep them healthy and strong.Pollen are produced by flowering plants. Foraging worker bees fly from their hive (sometimes miles away) to gather nectar from flowers and other blooming vegetation. To make just one pound of honey, honey bees will travel approximately 55,000 miles! Nectar is an evolutionary adaptation that attracts insects to the flowers by offering them nutrition. In fact, about one-third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Left unattended, nectar eventually ferments and is useless as a food source for bees. Usually, they’ll visit between 50 and 100 flowers per trip. Closeup of bees on honeycomb in apiary. To make honey, worker honey bees fly up to 5 kilometres searching for flowers and their sweet nectar. The honey is still a bit wet, so they fan it with their wings to make it dry out and become more sticky. Honey made from nectar from fruit bushes may have more fruity undertones than honey made from nectars of flowering plants. Nectar is the main ingredient for honey and also the main source of energy for bees. Once a worker honey bee returns to the colony, it passes the nectar onto another younger bee called a house bee. This requires a ton of nectar to be gathered and turned into honey. Why Do Bees Make Honey? All the bees have a significant role in creating and storing honey that will … In its natural state, nectar contains about 80 percent water, along with complex sugars. Bees must have blooming plants that are producing nectar. But there is enough honey for both the human consumption and feeding the colony in winter. A thick, golden liquid produced by industrious bees, honey is made using the nectar of flowering plants and is saved inside the beehive for eating during times of scarcity. Honey is a sweet thick food product that has a specific taste and aroma and is produced by several kinds of insects but most commonly bees. The pollen is used to make beebread, the bees' main source of dietary protein. The vast majority of honey bees in a colony are workers, whose purpose it is to gather the nectar. However, hives built in the heat that form junctions where combs meet will melt. Worker bees will go out and harvest the pollen and nectar from a variety of flowering vegetation within a 4-mile radius from their hive. Do Bees Make Honey all Year? To prepare for long-term storage, the bees fan their wings to evaporate and thicken the honey (note: nectar is 80% water and honey is about 14-18% water). The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. There are about 60,000 bees in a beehive which consume nearly 200 pounds of honey in a year. Bees make honey as a food source for the bee colony. Furthermore, the video “How Do Bees Make Honey” covers honey bee castes, the waggle dance, bee baby food, honey in Egyptian tombs, polyphenism, and many more. The pollen also provides bees with fats, vitamins, and minerals. The method which bees use to make honey has been fascinating us for hundreds of years. Pound for pound, honey provides bees with a much more concentrated energy source that can sustain them through cold winter months. 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. Honey bees will travel a 4- to 5-mile radius foraging for pollen and nectar. To store the honey for the long term, the honey – bees use their wings as a fan to dry up the water content in the nectar. When an individual cell is full of honey, the house bee caps the beeswax cell, sealing the honey into the honeycomb for later consumption. To make honey, worker honey bees fly up to 5km searching for flowers and their sweet nectar. They then turn the nectar into honey by drying it out by flapping their wings to make warm wind. Once the cells are filled with the nectar, any water within the nectar has to be evaporated. The production of honey by bees involves several chemical processes, including digestion, regurgitation, enzyme activity, and evaporation. Developing bee larvae also eat honey to grow strong and mature. 3. The bees then drop the honey into the beeswax comb, which are hexagonal cells made of wax produced by the bees, and repeat the process until the combs are full.. 4. Other types of bees, and a few other insects, also make honey, but these types are not used for commercial production and human consumption. Nectar is a sweet, liquidy substance produced by glands within plant flowers. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. To make honey, worker honey bees fly up to 5km searching for flowers and their sweet nectar. Honey is also necessary for survival during the winter months. Honeybees require a lot of energy to build comb, expand their colony, and survive the winter months. They add an enzyme that decomposes the nectar into hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid and helps fight bacteria. Bees create honey as a highly efficient food source to sustain themselves year-round, including the dormant months of winter—human beings are just along for the ride. The creation of honey is an incredible process that really makes us appreciate bees and the work they do. Some of these bees are “forager” bees, which collect nectar from flowering plants. Of this amount, a beekeeper can harvest 30 to 60 pounds of honey without compromising the colony's ability to survive the winter. Q: 'How do bees make honey in the winter, when the weather is very bad and there are fewer flower blossoms from which they can gather nectar?' House bees pack the nectar into hexagon-shaped beeswax honey cells. First, bees need to obtain the key ingredient for making honey — flower nectar. An interesting fact is that the royal beekeeper to King Charles II of England noted that a bee is an exquisite chemist. To make honey, worker honey bees fly up to 5km searching for flowers and their sweet nectar. This big undertaking is the mechanism by which the social organism known as a honey bee colony is able to survive the cold winter months. To keep pollen from spoiling, the bees add enzymes and acids to it from salivary gland secretions. By Antonia Čirjak on January 9 2020 in Environment. Inside the beehive each bee has a special job to do and the whole process runs smoothly.