A forager bee, which is the bee, travels out of the hive for quite far distances to find and bring back nectar to the hive. After that the forager bee passes the nectar on to a younger bee and then she goes out to look for more nectar.
The younger bee rolls the nectar around and around in its mouth for about 20 minutes. Then they put the nectar in one of the cells made of wax that the bees make.
The nectar is left in the cell because then it can allow water to evaporate, which makes the nectar thicker and more concentrated. When the nectar is thick enough, the worker bee chews the nectar once more so its at the point where it’s proper honey.
It then spits the honey into a wax cell, then it is sealed with wax until the honey is needed. Sometimes when you taste honey you can smell a hint of flowers thats because the odor of the flower goes into the nectar.
The forager bee also brings back pollen and water. The pollen gives the bees in the hive energy. All the bees in the colony open the cells and eat some honey from time to time to give them a bit of energy. Pollen is also rich in protein.
At the start of winter, all worker bees die, so every spring the queen bee starts to make a new colony. The queen bee cannot survive without her worker bees to feed and clean her. Hundreds of workers have to survive to look after the queen bee. For this to happen, the honey bee gets nectar in the summer. Honey is important to the bee colony throughout the year. It gives nourishment for the larvae and for the bees that are on duty in the nest.
The Wildlife Fact file says “A worker bee must eat 6 grams of honey to make 1 gram of wax.” It also said that “A forager bee will perform a little dance to the other bees to show them where a rich source of honey is, and it may visit up to 1000 flowers before its honeysack is full.”
When the worker bee is about 3 weeks old, it flys from the hive to get familiar with the surroundings outside the hive.
A bee’s body is hairy. Its two back legs have tiny pollen baskets in them and their two middle legs have stiff hairs on them for brushing the pollen into the little baskets. The middle legs also have a tiny spur for removing wax from the bees underparts. The front legs have a little notch for cleaning the antennae and a tiny comb for cleaning its eyes.
There are all different kinds of honey. There is manuka honey which is full of goodness, and comb honey which still contains the wax cells in it. It is crunchy and also good for you.
So next time you put honey on your bread or toast, give a thought to the honey bee and the work it took to get that honey on to your table.