MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: How do bees produce honey?

Date: Thu Jan 6 07:44:47 2000
Posted By: Richard Kingsley, Science teacher
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 945872216.Zo

Hi John,

How to make honey


Flower nectar


Reduce the nectar to honey

Honey production really is this simple. Workers responsible for honey production collect the nectar from the foragers, which is called tropholaxis. The honey bee will repeatedly open and close her mouthparts to dry out the nectar, which thickens as the water evaporates. In under half an hour, the nectar is thick enough to deposit in a cell where it continues to thicken over the next few days. Bees will fan the combs to increase the rate of drying and it is honey that results. For this reason, it is important to know which flowers bees collect nectar from and whether these flowers are organic. Honey from clover has an absolutely wonderful taste.

There are some excellent sites on the web and I recommend The Honey Bee Kingdom.

A standard work on this subject is The biology of the honey bee by Mark Winston (Hardback 1987, Paperback 1991).

Richard Kingsley

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