National Honey Month
September is National Honey Month! This is a celebration of the beekeeping and honey industries. We observe this in September because this is the end of honey collecting season for most beekeepers. Keep reading to learn some facts about bees and how they make honey!
- One beehive produces about 65 lbs of honey per year!
- Bees have two different stomachs! One is for digestion and one for nectar storage.
- It takes three types of bees to make honey: a queen bee, a drone bee, and a worker bee.
- A beehive contains about 60,000 bees!
- Nectar from different flowers can change the taste of honey.
To begin the honey making process, a bee has to find a flower that contains nectar. The bee will then suck the nectar from the flower using its proboscis. Back in the hive, the bee will convert the sucrose in the nectar into glucose and fructose. Some of the glucose gets turned into an acid which protects the honey from bacteria. At this point, the mixture is very watery. The bees in the hive will fan the mixture with their wings to thicken. Finally, the bees will seal the honeycomb in wax.
Queen bees, worker bees, and drone bees: There is only one queen bee per hive, she produces a chemical that regulates the hive and lays eggs. Worker bees are all female too, but they do not reproduce. They clean the hive, feed the other bees, collect nectar, and make wax. Drone bees are male bees whose main purpose is to mate with the queen bee.
Proboscis: A bee’s proboscis is a straw-like tongue. It allows them to suck nectar from flowers.
Sucrose, glucose, and fructose: Three different types of sugar used in the honey making process