How the Bees Make Honey
Bees are always synonymous with honey since these insects can create several pounds of honey
per hive. Beekeepers can acquire as many as thousands of pounds of honey each year because of the systematic and
guided process. Bees create honey generally the same way, as each type serves their relative functions. There is a
scheduled time to yield honey, as well as beeswax. You can improve your harvest by learning the process.
The Honey-Making Process
Bees start making honey by collecting nectar from different flowers that they visit. The nectar mixture is
brought back to the hive and poured into honeycomb cells. These cells were also made by the bees before inside the
hive. Honeybees carry the nectar then mix it with different enzymes via a special pouch found in their body. The
nectar will begin to turn into honey. The bees will evaporate most of the water out of the nectar mix to thicken
it. As it becomes honey, the bees will place a cap of beeswax on top of the cell.
Beekeepers collect the honey from honey supers inside the hive. A super is described as a section of the hive
that has many frames of honey in honeycombs. The frames are made in a unique way, thereby making them very easy to
take out from the hive. Supers are positioned over the brood chamber where the eggs are laid and protected as these
turn into larvae, pupae and then finally, bees.
There are special screens that divide the brood chamber and honey supers with holes large enough for worker bees
to go through. These are small enough to keep the queen bee from passing through. The screen prevents the queen
from laying eggs in honey supers. Beekeepers can then remove honey supers without injuring bees and larva. Before
supers are taken out, worker bees have to be blown out via a leaf blower or smoker.
The Work Begins
The worker bees returning with nectar is immediately greeted by other worker bees to relieve the load. Mouth to
mouth transfer is done between the field and hive bees. Their tongues extended and processing is done in the mouth
and stomach thereby breaking the complex sugars into simple sugars. This gives honey its longer shelf life.
At this point, nectar is still hardly recognizable as honey. The nectar at the start is about 80% water and the
rest, complex sugars. After enzyme processing, small droplets are placed on the cell upper sides to be converted
into viscous honey. The bees will start the evaporation process by fanning their wings together. The buzzing sound
stemming from the hive is based on the forced evaporation process. The final product is thick honey with 18%
Some honey has light color while others have darker tones. The taste and color of honey is based on the types of
flowers where the nectar came from. For example, clover produces mild tasting and light colored honey. Orange
blossom produces honey with dark color. A variety of wildflowers can produce wildflower honey. Spring berry blossom
honey is produced by wild berries like wild plum, blackberries and sparkleberries. Sourwood honey has light color
and a tangy taste. Goldenrod honey comes from goldenrod flowers.
Comb and Spun Honey
Some people believe that honey eaten straight from the comb is sweeter. This kind is referred to as comb honey.
Some people also like to chew wax. Beekeepers offer comb honey either by putting a piece of comb in a honey jar or
by offering honeycomb pieces in sections. Some individuals prefer spun honey characterized by crystallizations.
Very fine crystals are put into the honey and stirred frequently until everything crystallizes.
During the high of summer, worker bees can kill themselves by visiting flowers and moving nectar back to the
hive nonstop. This activity usually occurs when winter is approaching. Worker bees live only around 35 days. In the
end, the wings usually lose their function and the bee rejected by the colony.
Worker bees have hair-like baskets on their hind legs packing pollen grains while visiting flowers. The bees are
quickly identified due to the bright pollen packed. The bees almost waddle around the hive carrying very large
amounts of pollen.