How do bees make honey?
Honey begins its journey as nectar, the sugar water produced by flowers.
Worker bees visit up to 1,500 flowers a flight, sucking nectar through straw-like tubes and storing it in their honey sacs.
The honey sac or crop contains an enzyme that breaks down the nectar’s complex sugars into glucose and fructose, which are easier for the bees to digest and make the sweet liquid less hospitable to bacteria and fungi.
In the hive, more worker bees draw the nectar from the honey sacs, ‘chew’ it for further processing and deposit drops of the precious liquid in honeycomb cells.
What happens next is wonderfully weird. Teams of worker bees positioned throughout the hive fan their wings furiously, increasing air circulation to speed up the evaporation process. When the nectar’s reduced from 80 per cent water to only 18.5 per cent, it is officially honey, and the cells are sealed over with wax.
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