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How Honey Is Made Overview Essay

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Updated: Dec 27th, 2021


Bees live on honey. This is food for the insects and we all agree that honey is sweet; but the question is, how is honey made? Honey is a sweet substance that is derived by bees from nectar. Nectar is a liquid substance found in flowering plants, it contains 20% complex sugar and 80% water. Other than the sugar, there are minerals, organic acids, vitamins, and pigments aromatic substances in the nectar. Honey is the resultant monosaccharide, fructose, and glucose found in nectar. Human beings use honey as food and so do bees. But what makes the substance so sweet? Which is the process that is followed in making it? This paper analysis the process that bees follow when making honey

The Process of Making Honey

Stage 1

The first step in making honey starts from collection of honey. Bees organize themselves in colonies and assign responsibilities to each of them. The bees that collect nectar are called field bees or older working bees. The older working bee has a tongue that is known as proboscis, it resembles a tube, and this is the part that is used in collecting nectar. The proboscis has its root to a special stomach in the bee called the honey stomach. After the nectar has been collected the bee ensures that its honey stomach is full before it goes to the hive. The average mass that a bee honey stomach can hold is 4gms that is approximately half the weight of the insect. To fill the stomach, it requires 50-150 flowers depending on the type of flower and the amount of nectar available (Crane, pp. 12-32).

Stage 2

After the bee has filled its stomach, then it flies back to the hive, during this period, the process of converting the nectar to honey starts, it adds some substances to the nectar called invertases. These are enzymes that break the nectar into more simple sugar compounds; they are mostly broken to glucose (grape sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar). Once in the hive, bees called young working bee’s suck the nectar from the stomach of the old working bees using their proboscis. The sucked nectar is stored in combs.

Stage 3

This is the stage that the houses bees turn the nectar into raw honey; they do this by adding a certain enzyme using their mouth to the honey. The enzymes are in the mouth and are mixed with the nectar to produce what can be referred to as unrefined honey. The process takes about 20 minutes. At this stage the honey has high water content and it is kept in the honey cells by the same bees-house bees. After the honey has been put in the cell, the house bees start the process of evaporating the water content in the raw honey. This is done by fanning their wings. The resultant is a thickened raw honey. This process is called ripening. The ripened honey has about 15%- 20% moisture contents. The water in the form of droplets is removed by the use of mouth sucking.

Stage 4

After the above has been done, then other enzymes are added that are meant to prevent further fermentation and contamination from bacteria. After it has been added and they are sure that the raw honey is well protected, the next house bees make sealing on the top of the cell. The seal is through a thin wax component that is air tight proving. The wax is formed in small sheets found under the abdomen of the bee. When this has been done the honey is said to be completed and left for use.

In cases where there is no nectar freely available in the neighborhood, a certain colony sends a “spy” bee which is a male bee to look for new areas that they will get nectar. When it has found a place with flowering plants, it passes the message to the others in the form of a dance that direct the others to the place where there is nectar (Karlvon, pp. 23-45).

A typical colony can produce 30-50 kgs of honey per year. The bees do not stop making honey until all the cells have been filled. They use it as their food and human being harvest the same food.


Making honey is a process that the bees seem to have mastered. Like any other manufacturing process it is sequential and followed all the way to the end. It starts with gathering of the raw materials in this case nectar, work here is divided according to the expertise that each bee has. There are the field bees which are responsible for collecting of honey and looking for area that plants are flowering for the same task. There are house bees that are left in the hives as they prepare places that the new nectar will be stored as well as protecting the honey that is in the place.

Works Cited

  1. Crane, Eva. Honey: A comprehensive survey. London: OUP, 1979.
  2. Karlvon, Frisch. Bees: Their vision, Chemical senses, and Language. London: Wisely, 1978.
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