Kids' Corner

Where Does Honey Come From?

Just imagine how hard honeybees have to work…a whole hive of bees may fly tens of thousands of miles (up to 55,000 miles) and visit millions of flowers (more than two million flowers) in order to collect enough nectar to make just a pound of honey. Honeybees use their long, tube-like tongues to suck the nectar out of the flowers just like drinking straws! They store it in their honey stomach, which is different than their regular stomach, which helps them digest their food. Their honey stomach is more of pouch that they use to carry nectar back to the hive and transfer it to other worker bees.

These honeybees that remain in the hive then “chew” the nectar for about 30 minutes or so during which time enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars. This form of nectar is then spread throughout the honeycomb to allow any remaining water to evaporate from it. As the nectar dries, it thickens into what we know as honey, it not only becomes more digestible to the bees, it is also protected from any bacteria. To help speed the drying process, the worker bees fan their wings.

Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten by the bees or is harvested by a beekeeper. Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose, and water. It also contains other sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals vitamins, and amino acids.