How Do Bees Make Their Honey?
The honey that honeybees make comes from nectar, a sweet liquid found in flowers. The bee gathers the nectar with its long tongue, and carries the nectar to its hive in a special pouch inside its body called the “honey stomach.” In the honey stomach are chemicals which turn the nectar into honey.
The bee stores the honey in little wax cubbyholes called cells. In the cells, most of the water dries out of the honey and it becomes thick and syrupy. The beeswax comb, are hexagonal cells made of wax produced by the bees, and they repeat the process until the combs are full.
To prepare for long-term storage, the bees fan their wings to evaporate and thicken the honey. When this is done, the bees cap the honeycomb with wax and move on to the next empty comb, starting all over again. So, in a nutshell, the honey we eat is flower nectar that honey bees have collected, regurgitated and dehydrated to enhance its nutritional properties.
They also make honey to store it in the hive as food for the winter when there are no blossoms and therefore little nectar available. Honeybees eat only about half of the honey they make. Beekeepers collect the leftovers for people to enjoy.
Beekeepers remove the honey-filled combs from the beehives and extract the liquid honey for use by first removing the wax cap with a sharp knife or a machine and then placing the bee hive frames in a large centrifuge to get the honey out of the comb.
Beekeepers has the choice of reusing the comb by putting it back into the bee hives to be refilled with honey instead of melting it down to make candles. In this way, the bees don’t have to re-build the comb and the beekeepers have more honey to sell.