Bees are super intelligent insect! They perform buzz of activities stage by stage in a clever manner to make this nutritious food – Honey!
These are well-organized and well-controlled scientific activities carried out by honey bees. Truly a Journey worth exploring!
Honey bees make honey as their food to eat themselves and store the rest for colder months.
The reason is during winter season plants rarely produce nectar and pollen for bees to survive. So, the purpose of storing honey arises.
There are two sources of nectar for bees that is nectar from flowers and the other one is the nectar from plant secretion. However, nectar from flowers is the major source of honey bees.
Let’s Begin the Journey: Know How Nectar Turns into Honey?
Honey bee family has three types of bees like Queen Bee, Worker Bee and Drone Bee each has its role to play.
Among these three, worker bees play the lead role in collecting the nectar and turning it into honey from various flowers. It may be from thousands of flowers. Honestly a massive job but worker bees are passionate about this assignment.
Step-1: Nectar Gathering Journey:
Worker or female bees visit flower to flower using their long sucking mouthpart (proboscis) to draw the nectar from the flowers.
Likewise they store the nectar from all the visiting flowers in their ‘honey stomach’ until they reach the hive. ‘Honey stomach’ is the storage house of the nectar while loading it from the flowers.
Remember bees have two stomachs one is ‘honey stomach’ and the other one is the normal digestive stomach.
Step-2: Returns to the Hive:
Here bees land back into the hive and unload the nectar into the mouth of other worker bees. After this, they add the enzymes to break the complex sugar present in the nectar to make it more digestible simple sugar for bees. This is known as the regurgitation process.
This is the special exercise of bees in transferring the nectar into honey.
Step-3: Removing the Excess Water:
Honey bees deposit honey into the hexagonal shaped cells in the hive. But wait! Bees need to do more in order to make honey stay longer and safe before sealing it.
At this stage, honey is unripe because it contains extra moisture that may spoil honey. So, bees vibrate their wings to remove all the extra moisture until it settles down to less than 17% and becomes thick.
Step-4: Sealing the Thick Ripe Honey Cells Using Beeswax:
Honey bees make wax through the wax-secret gland present in their body to finally seal the honey cells in the hive.
Now we know that Honey we eat is the result of highly dedicated natural efforts of honey bees. furthermore, making it remarkable nutritious food for health nourishment and natural remedy for various diseases!