Basic Science

How is Honey Made?

Honey is a sweet and gold coloured food substance which is easily available under many different brands in the market. But do you know that honey is produced in nature? More specifically honey is collected by bees and stored in beehives.

Source

The making of honey is a unique process. During spring season, you may have seen a swarm of honey bees and other insects humming around flowers. Generally, this happens in warm weather. In reality, they are busy collecting nectar, a sweet juice inside flowers.

Collector bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers as food and this also helps in pollination of flowers. However, a honey bee sucks as much as she can from the flowers around her. It sucks nectar through proboscis, a straw-like tongue. Then they store this sweet fluid in honey sack, a second stomach to store nectar.

They also have a separate digestive stomach, connected to the honey stomach by a valve; whenever they feel hungry they can pass some nectar to the digestive stomach through this valve.

After being fully loaded with nectar, they return to their hives and now this collected nectar is passed onto other worker bees, one by one. The first worker bee sucks the nectar from the honey sack of collector bee, then it passes this nectar to another and this process continues until the nectar becomes thick and converts to honey.

An enzyme is secreted in their mouth and it takes an active role in honey making process. Now they store this honey in small cells in the honeycomb. But, still this honey contains more water than required and so bees fan the honey with their wings to dry it out and make it sticky.

Now, this honey making process is complete. But it has to be protected; therefore bees cover honey with wax. Bees have a special type of gland in their abdomen using which they make wax from nectar. They can make wax in their abdomen, using the sugary part of the nectar. Bees also use this wax to make their honeycomb.
And this is the story of how honey is made.

Susmita Dasgupta

Susmita is a trained, veteran primary school teacher. She loves to teach and to make learning exciting for children. One of her great passions in life is to create in her students a curiosity about life and all its accompanying mysteries.

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