How Do Bees Make Honey?

The human mind typically considers any golden or sweet item as a valuable commodity. Luckily, honey possesses both of these characteristics. The Christian Bible describes heaven as “The Land of Milk and Honey.” Honey was considered the food of the gods in the age-old times. It was often offered for sacrificial purposes to the gods. From flower to IBC mixer, let’s dive into the process of producing the gods’ natural food.

Raw Materials

Honey is produced by honeybees. They collect the nectar of flowers that’s instrumental in the production of honey. This sweet syrup is made up of 76-80% glucose, 17-20% water, wax, pollen, fructose as well as other mineral salts. The type of flower where the honeybees harvest nectar is a key factor determining the honey’s colour, composition and consistency. For instance, clover and alfalfa yield white honey, heather yields reddish-brown honey, lavender produces an amber hue, as sainfoin and acacia produce honey resembling a straw colour.

Yearly, an average-sized bee colony can yield from 27.2 kg to 45.7 kg of honey. A honeybee colony is made up of a three-tier hierarchy. Worker class bees make up almost 50,000 to 70,000 bees. They enjoy a lifespan of 3-6 weeks. During this time, each bee accumulates nearly a teaspoon of nectar. Around 1.8 kg of nectar is needed to produce half a kilogram of honey.

Then, the collected nectar is drained into vacant honeycomb cells. Thereafter, the nectar is ingested by other worker bees from the honeycombs. Enzyme addition occurs during this phase. This results in the nectar ripening into honey. Once the honey ripens fully, it is drained back into the cells. Once this is done, it is sealed off as honey.

Manufacturing Process

Emptying the honey is the duty of the beekeeper once a honeycomb is full of honey. Appropriate protective gear including protective gloves and a veiled helmet must be worn by the beekeeper during this process. The harvested honeycombs are put into an extractor to remove the honey. The extractor applies centrifugal force to extract honey. Honeycombs can weigh up to 2.27 kg. Honey is extracted and pushed to the extractor’s walls as it spins. Honey then slowly drips down and out of the extractor through its cone-shaped base. A spigot offers pivotal help when the honey is dripping. A honey bucket is placed beneath the valve for filtration purposes. It contains two sieves that separate the honey and wax. These sieves are soft and coarse in design.

After the extraction of honey, it makes its way to a commercial distributor. It is put into tanks for heating. These tanks heat the honey to 48.9 °C. Heating at this temperature goes on for about 24 hours. This ensures that any purities in the honey rise. After heating, elements such as bee parts and pollen will rise to the top. They are easily skimmed off within the tanks.