how bee’s make honey
Bees start making honey by visiting flowers. They collect a sugary juice called nectar from the blossom by sucking it out with their tongues. They store it in their honey stomach which is different from their food stomach. When they have a full load, they fly back to the hive.
A colony of bees can visit up to 50 million flowers each day with as many as 60,000 bees in each colony. Honey bees work together as a team to decide about where the best flowers are. They communicate with each other using bumps, noises and even dance moves known as the waggle dance.
To make honey, worker honey bees fly up to 3.107 miles searching for flowers and their sweet nectar. Usually, they visit between 50 to 100 flowers per trip.
Nectar is the main ingredient for honey and also the main source of energy for bees. Using a long straw-like tongue called a proboscis. Honey bees suck up nectar droplets from the flower’s special nectar-making organ, called the nectary. 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 that are less prone to crystallization, or becoming solid. This process is called inversion.
Once a worker honey bee returns to the colony, it passes the nectar onto another younger bee called a house bee (between 12-17 days old).
House bees take the nectar inside the colony and pack it away in hexagon-shaped beeswax honey cells. Then, they turn the nectar into honey by drying it out using a warm breeze made with their wings.
Once the honey has dried out, they put a lid over the honey cell using fresh beeswax – kind of like a little honey jar. In the winter, when the flowers have finished blooming and there’s not as much nectar available, the bees can open this lid and share the honey they saved.