How do bees make honey?

Honey bees collect pollen and nectar in the spring when most flowers and plants are in bloom. They use their long, tubelike tongues like straws (called proboscis) to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their stomachs and carry it to the beehive. While inside the bee's stomach for about half an hour, the nectar mixes with the proteins and enzymes produced by the bees, converting the nectar into honey. The bees then drop the honey into the beeswax comb, which are hexagonal cells made of wax produced by the bees, and 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 (note: nectar is 80% water and honey is about 14-18% water). 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.


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