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How Do Bees Make Honey? - TermMax - Bees and Wasps

For hundreds of years we’ve been consuming honey. How do we know this? Archaeologists in Egypt have found pots of honey buried in tombs.   The honey found was crystalized, but after being heated was completely edible.  Honey is easily one of the longest lasting preserved foods that we have.  How do bees make honey?  Bees collect nectar from flowers.  They will use their bodies to process the honey and pass it between one another until it becomes honey.

Honey bees are known for creating their name sake: honey.  They spend a large part of their lives in the pursuit of this commodity.  Other animals, including us, have figured out that this is a great source of carbohydrates.  Because of this, they will protect it with their lives.  Most honey bees have stingers that they use to protect the hive.  The stingers of worker bees are barbed, so that they remain in the attacker, pumping venom into their veins.  

THE PROCESS

Most of the worker bees are tasked with the job of foraging.  They will search for flowers that they can harvest nectar from.  When they find nectar, they will use their tube like mouth parts to suck the nectar up into an organ called the crop.  This is much like a stomach that can carry the nectar.  Enzymes are added in the crop, much like acids are added by the stomach to aid in digestion.  For more information, contact your Tulsa pest control company.  

Once the forager returns to the hive, he will regurgitate the nectar into the crop of another bee.  This bee is a processor.  He will continue to add enzymes to the nectar and place it into the honey comb.  Nectar is almost 70 percent water, but honey is around 18 percent.  To eliminate the water, bees will gather around open honey combs and flap their wings.  This fanning dries out the nectar, creating honey.  After the honey is fully formed, the bee will cap the cell and move on to the next one.  

HONEYCOMB AND WAX

Bees make their honey comb out of wax.  This wax is produced from their bodies.  There are eight separate glands on the belly of the honey bee that each make honey.  It takes about 2 tablespoons of honey consumed by a bee to create an ounce of wax.  They can use their own body heat to form the wax into whatever shape they want.  They start by using their bodies to form it into a circle, and then add corners.  Contact your Oklahoma exterminator for more information.  

There are many reasons that the bees use the hexagon shape in their hives.  First of all, it allows for honey storage without any wasted space.  Scientists have also found that the hexagon is a shape that has the highest strength to weight ratio.  This is extremely important since these insects will have to save between 100 to 500 lbs of honey to survive the winter.  The hexagon shape allows them to in the most efficient way.  

LIFECYCLE

The life of a honey bee starts with the queen.  She is tasked with laying all of the eggs in the hive.  That egg will hatch and become a larva. Fertilized eggs will become either worker bees or queens, unfertilized bees become drones.  Their role will also be determined by their diet.  Worker bees will be fed a worker jelly that is created by glands in the belly of an adult worker.  The queens will be fed a royal jelly, and the drones are fed a mixture of worker jelly, pollen and honey.  These diets will trigger hormonal responses to create each unique caste.  

The worker bees are tasked with foraging for food, creating honey, caring for the young, and feeding the hive.  Queen bees will lay all of the eggs for the hive.  When a queen hatches, it will kill the current queen and any other developing queens.  She will go on a flight and find drone bees from other hives and mate with a number of them.  She will then come back and lay eggs fro the rest of her life.  The drone bees are the only male bees.  They are tasked with mating with other queen bees.  They will die after mating.  

THEIR PLACE IN THE ECOSYSTEM

Bees are a very important part of our ecosystem.  They do a large part of the cross pollination for the plant world.  Plants have both sexes contained in their flowers, but in order to promote diversity, they need a carrier to pass reproductive materiel between flowers.  This reproductive material is pollen.  Treating bees by yourself is dangerous, so contact a Tulsa exterminator for help.  

Pollen comes from the stamen, or male part of the plant.  As a bee collects honey from the flower, pollen from the stamen attaches to the body of the bee.  It will go on to the next flower, depositing the pollen on the pistil, or female part of the plant.  This will fertilize the flower creating a seed.  Without bees and other pollinating insects, plant reproduction for a large part of the plant world becomes impossible.  It’s extremely important that these insects are protected in order to keep the ecosystem moving properly.  

BEES AS PESTS

Sometimes, though bees can find themselves in the wrong place.  When they create a hive near human structures, or interfere with our lives in some way, they must be dealt with.  In these cases, it is in order to call upon an Oklahoma pest control company to eliminate these insects.  But because of their stinging properties, it’s also important that you not try to do it yourself.  Here at TermMax Pest Control, we are highly trained to deal with bees as pests.  We service the greater Tulsa area including Jenks, Sapulpa, Sand Springs, Pratville, Berryhill, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Catoosa, Turley and more.  Call us today for a free estimate.  We’re here to help!

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