Making the honey

Bees need two different kinds of food. One is honey made from nectar, the sugary juice that collects in the heart of the flowers. The other comes from the anthers of flowers which contain small grains called pollen, which differ from flower to flower.

The nectar provides the bees with honey for energy while the pollen is a source of protein. All the vitamins the bees need are contained in the various nectars and pollens. As the bee crawls inside blossoms in search of nectar, pollen sticks to small hairs that cover its body. When the bees grooms itself it moves the pollen to carry-bags on its hind legs.

The nectar is sucked from the flower and stored in a special honey stomach. When the bee is full she returns to the hive and passes the nectar by mouth to the honey making bees. This mixture is then transferred to a honey cell in the hive. The mixture then slowly converts into honey as its moisture content drops from about 70% in the nectar to less than 18% in the honey.

When the cell is full the bees seal it with a beeswax cap. The honey remains in place until it is needed as food in the hive. The pollen is also stored away; later it is mixed with honey to make a bee bread which is fed to the baby bees.