Sweet nectar is transported & transformed by female worker bees
Honey is transformed flower and plant nectar. The transformation is a multi-stage process that begins when a female worker bee collects nectar from sources around her hive. The bee has two stomachs and sucks the nectar into her honey stomach for transportation back to the hive.
Once her honey stomach is full the worker bee returns to the hive where she is greeted by other worker bees ready to help. The bees chew and pass the nectar between them while injecting enzymes into the mixture. Nectar straight from the source is roughly 80% water and 20% complex sugars. The enzymes in the bees’ stomachs break down the nectar into a fructose-glucose mixture and siphon off excess water.
Buzzing is heard from the hive as thousands of wings dry the honey
After about a half-hour of chewing and regurgitating the nectar, it is placed into a honeycomb cell for further drying. The hive maintains a roughly 95 F degree temperature and the bees coordinate flapping their wings to dry the honey to a 16-18% humidity. Once the proper humidity is achieved, the bees seal the honeycomb cell with a wax cap.
Honey is high-octane fuel allowing bees to do the impossible
The honey is used as fuel for the hive and is mixed with pollen to feed newborn bees.
2 million flowers = 1lb of honey
To produce one pound of honey, bees may fly over 55,000 miles and visit roughly two million flowers. Commercially a single hive can produce anywhere from 35-100 lbs of honey during a season. If a moisture content of roughly 18% or less is maintained, honey has an indefinite shelf-life.