Bees constantly make honey because it serves them as food. So the whole process of making honey is a way of storing up food for the bee colony. The first thing a bee does is visit flowers and drinks the nectar. Then it carries the nectar home in the honey sac. This is a bag like enlargement of the digestive tract just in front of the bee’s stomach. There is a valve that separates this section from the stomach.

The first step in the making of the honey takes place while the nectar is in the bee’s honey sac. The sugars found in the nectar undergo a chemical change. The next step is to remove a large part of the water from the nectar. This is done by evaporation, which takes place because of the heat of the hive, and by ventilation. Honey stored in the honeycombs by honeybees has so much water removed from the original nectar that it will keep almost forever! The honey is put into honeycombs to ripen, and to serve as the future food supply for the colony. Honeys differ in taste and appearance, depending on the source of the nectar.

Fact File:

Honey is removed from the hive by various methods. It may be squeezed from the comb by presses, or it may be sold in the combs cut from the hive. Most honey, however, is removed from the combs by a machine known as ‘a honey extractor’.


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