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Posted by on Dec 13, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

How Do Bees Make Honey?

How Do Bees Make Honey?

When a honeybee visits a flower, it sucks up droplets of sweet nectar with its long hollow tongue called proboscis. The nectar goes into a special compartment in the bee’s body called a “honey stomach.”

The honey stomach contains a chemical that starts changing the sugars found in nectar into honey. It turns the sugar part of nectar (called sucrose) into different kinds of sugar (glucose and fructose).

Some of the glucose then gets turned into an acid. By turning some of the nectar into acid, any bacteria present are killed so it doesn’t get into the honey. This is why honey can last for years and years.

When the bee returns to the hive, it gives its load of nectar to the hive bees. These bees “chew” the nectar to dry out some of the water. But this new nectar mix is still quite watery, so the bees get rid of most of the water by fanning the mix with their wings.

Finally, as honey, it is ready to be fed to the rest of the bee colony, and the surplus is stored in cells in the honeycomb to be used later. To protect their honey, the bees will seal the honeycombs with wax.

In its whole life, a single bee only produces about one and a half teaspoons of honey, but they live in really big groups, which mean they can make a lot of honey when they work together.

Content for this question contributed by Angela Manipis, resident of Livermore, Alameda County, California, USA