bees making honey

dkhoneyframe

So many people ask us – “How do bees make honey?”  Most people know that bees forage for nectar and pollen up to 5 miles out from the hive. It is the nectar from which honey is made – and the mix of flowers will determine the color, aroma and flavor of the honey. Often we can taste some of what our bees have been foraging on – our sweet pepper bush, buckwheat, herbs, and so on. But it is a complex mix – it is estimated that nectar from more than 2 million flowers make up a pound of honey – that is each bee must visit between 150 – 1500 flowers. Each bee can carry up to 70 mg in its honey stomach.

It is the sexually immature female forging bees that collect the nectar with their tongues and carry it in their honey stomach as opposed to their digestive stomach. It is mixed with bee enzymes as the bee returns to the hive where a house bee retrieves the honey in a mouth to mouth transfer. This house bees chew on the nectar and mix it with more enzymes, an inversion process where the complex sugars are broken down into more simple and digestible sugars. Because of its low water content and high sugar concentration – the honey will not spoil – making it a stable food with an eternal shelf life.

Once complete this liquid is placed in the wax honeycomb where the bees begin to reduce the water percentage from 80% down to around 17% water. They do this by maintaining a hive temperature of 95 degrees and continually fan the honeycomb to evaporate the water content. Lastly the honeycomb is capped and honey is stored for future use.

Honey supplies most of the vitamins, nutrient, lipid, and mineral needs for the bees survival. It is made up of:

  • about 82% carbohydrates – mainly fructose and glucose;
  • about 18 different amino acids;
  • a variety of vitamins and minerals – Vitamins B, B6, C, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, chromium;
  • antioxidants;
  • flavonoids.

Amazing bees – amazing honey!

Agraria’s honey harvest is near for 2017 – we’ll keep you posted on our progress and let you know when our honey is available.

bee products 1 2017

 

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