Flowers produce nectar to attract pollinators like honey bees. Bee pollen is also present on the anther of flowers. Honey bees need both nectar and bee pollen for their hives.
Honey bees have to visit 100s of flowers before going back to the hive, visiting different flowers transfers pollen from one flower to another. honey bee also needs bee pollen to feed larvae. as it is rich in protein, vitamins & minerals.
Water content in nectar:
Nectar present in the flower has 60-75% of water. They collect the nectar in the honey sac and carry it to the hive. This watery nectar is converted to honey by a unique process.
Once the bee reaches the hive a load of nectar is unloaded to house bees. house bees carry the nectar into the tongue to evaporate its water. By adding saliva and regurgitation, the house bees convert the watery nectar into honey.
Converting the nectar into honey:
The honey is still flowy with a water content of 30-40%. Once the honey is spread on the hexagonal cells. Bees start fanning with their wings to make honey thicker. The fanning continues until the honey reaches having just 18% water.
Bees maintain a temperature of the hive around 28° to 35°C. Continue fanning at this temperature helps honey to ripen well with a moisture content of around 18%.
Once honey reaches 18% water (moisture) The hexagonal wax cell is covered or sealed with a wax cap. This final stage is called sealed and ripened honey.
Honey bees collect a lot more honey than they actually needed, almost 10 times more.
Therefore, beekeepers harvest the extra honey made in the hive.
The apiary method of harvesting is safe, sustainable and harmless. As genuine beekeepers harvest just the extra honey (honey super) from the bee boxes, leaving enough to feed on it.