The most useful product that nature gives us is honey - a sweet syrupy liquid produced by bees. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids important for human health. Honey strengthens the immune system, and also helps to cope with various ailments. It consists of pollen, nectar and bee salivary fluid. Everyone has ever wondered how bees make honey. This is a very interesting process. In order to collect one kilogram of nectar, necessary for the manufacture of honey, the bees make from 45 to 150 thousand flights, depending on the amount of nectar produced by plants, shrubs, trees and flowers. In one season, the bee colony is able to create up to two hundred kilograms of honey.
Why do bees make honey
Why do bees need honey? It serves as a power source. From the honey depends on the endurance and productivity of the bee family. Even when a sufficient amount of honey and pollen are stored in the hive for a successful wintering, the instinct drives the bees to continue the search for nectar. Each family seeks to accumulate the maximum amount of food reserves. With plenty of food, bees are calm and have a good winter. But in the case when insufficient amount of honey was collected, there was not enough food. In this regard, the entire bee family begins to weaken, ache and may die.
How do bees find nectar
In the family, responsibilities are clearly distributed among all. We will tell about them so that you understand how the bees make honey. First, "scouting" extract information about the presence of flowering plants around the hive, about their coordinates. Every morning a separate category of bees flies out to explore the territory adjacent to the apiary. These insects have poor eyesight, so they use a well-developed sense of smell to find nectar. In case of successful departure, the bee returns to the hive and, using a special circular dance, transmits to its congeners that nectar has been found nearby.
How is nectar collected?
At the indicated coordinates, worker bees fly to the designated place, find flowers and collect nectar from them using special goats. Landing on a flower, the picker determines whether there is a fragrant substance on the plant. For this, she uses special taste buds located on the feet. Bees have two stomachs: one is needed to collect nectar, the second is for nourishment. After the “storage chamber” is filled, the worker returns to the hive to transfer the nectar for processing and return to the flowering meadow. On the day such a bee is able to fly eight kilometers, but long-distance flights are dangerous for it. In this regard, the most productive is the distance to two kilometers. In this case, the bee manages to process up to 12 hectares of flowering fields. With a properly organized apiary, the radius of the useful flight of a bee is 2-3 kilometers.
During the collection of the sweet liquid, the working bee has time to deliver 45 mg of nectar in one fly. The greater the distance between the hive and the source of nectar, the less the insect will bring. This is due to the fact that a bee spends some of the sweet liquid on the way to restore physical strength. For these purposes, it uses 25-30% of portable nectar.
Not everyone knows how bees make honey. After the toiler transfers the nectar to non-flying bees, the so-called process of honey ripening begins. Those insects that are busy working in the hive, transfer the immature honey in their ventricles to the honeycomb, enriching it with enzymes and reducing the moisture content in it. Then the bee attaches the droplets of sweet liquid to the walls of the combs.
During the honey harvest period, the whole insect family is actively engaged in nest ventilation and temperature control. To do this, non-flying bees are actively flapping their wings with such force that the hum and buzz from the hive is heard from the side.
How do bees produce honey?
The process of making this sweet treat is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. Before the bees produce honey, there is a final rehydration of the product, as well as a process of biochemical transformation. Sucrose, saturated with sweet liquid, is split into glucose and fructose. Ultimately, the product must contain a balance of these two monosaccharides.
How do bees make honey? From the outside, it looks like this: insects begin to process the nectar produced by transferring from one cell to another, actively ventilating the entire nest. Due to the wide distribution of the substance, evaporation of excess moisture is accelerated. At the time of transfer of nectar from the cell to the cell, its enrichment with the enzymes of bees continues. In the hive is constantly observed strict sanitation. All foreign objects that were there, immediately expelled out. The resulting honey itself can be exposed to moisture and, as a result, quickly ferment. To keep the product for a long time, the bees transfer it to the very top of the nest, where they are tightly placed in honeycombs. In addition, each cell is sealed with wax caps so that neither water nor air penetrates.
What factors affect the quality of honey?
In general, the process of producing honey takes from seven to fourteen days. The time it takes to collect nectar depends on the humidity of the air and the number of honey plants near the apiary. The quality of honey is directly related to its moisture content. The less liquid, the better it turns out honey. In this regard, the duration of its selection affects the quality of the final product.
And yet, why do bees make honey? This source of essential micronutrients and nutrients serves as their food. During the collection of nectar and the production of honey, a portion is used to maintain strength. The main part of the honey, these insects harvested for the winter. At the same time for the year the bee family consumes only half of the produced volume.
In the process of collecting honey involved bees of all generations of the family. Each insect is busy with its work. After filling and sealing honeycomb honey begins to mature. In this state, it can be stored for very long. At the same time, the ambient temperature, the region of collection, as well as the treated plants, together can contribute to the crystallization of honey. The final physical condition of this delicacy does not affect its healing properties.
Their common home is the hive.
The familiar name is family for bees conditionally. This is some kind of higher organization. The queen bee is not a mother to anyone. Her activity lies in laying eggs, once mated with many drones in the mating flight. And before that, the bees had fed her from the larvae. Drones, too, bees feed their entire short life. The life of a bee depends on the condition of the wings. With summer intensive work, they become unusable for a month, and the bee dies, and autumn bees overwinter and carry the first bribe in the spring.
The worker bee begins to work from the moment of birth:
- 3 days of cleaning the comb, cleaning them after the release,
- 4-6 days feed the larvae with honey and pollen, fly around the hive,
- 7-11 days bees appear in the glands of the uterine milk, they feed the uterus and the larvae of the queen, which develop in several cells of honeycombs,
- 12-17 days, wax glands appear, and the bees turn into builders of honeycombs, at the same time they guard the hive, take nectar and maintain the microclimate,
- from the 18th day to the end of life during the honey collection, the bee flies out of the hive for raw materials for honey, bee feed.
The community of bees in the hive obeys the laws of a single organism. To survive, the family requires food, Bees carry pollen from flowering plants, process it into honey, store it in wax cells. Scientists investigated how bees make honey from pollen and nectar.
In its flight, the bee is guided by time, smell, color of the hive. She flies to the flowers at the time of their discovery. If, in the absence of the worker, the hive was repainted, she searches for him by smell, but uncertainly. Therefore, in the apiary beehives are painted in different colors.
Honey making technology
Before you start collecting honey, you must obtain containers for storing the product. Wax hexagonal cells are always created in the hive or wildboard, a perfect design that allows maximum use of volume. Build their bees. At the same time, the cells are not all the same, they are subdivided:
- queen mothers, where uterus are fed,
- transient, there grow larvae,
- drone - rebuilt working bees and queens,
- bee - the place of storage of honey.
Why bees honey, of course. You need to feed the brood and all those who work to extend the life of the family, you need to stock up the product for the winter.
So, a scout bee found a blooming glade and flew to the hive, collecting a team for honey collection. The working bee is a collector of pollen and nectar. Bees begin to make honey as soon as pollen and nectar fall into a special goiter. There are also enzymes that break down sugar.
At the same time as nectar with shaggy legs, the bee collects pollen, pollinating the plant. Pollen ball hides in a basket on his leg, it will be prepared from it perga. In the food warehouse, perga is stored separately from honey.
In order to fill the goiter bee you need to collect a tribute from a thousand flowers. Having loaded 70 mg in the goiter, the bee flies low, overcoming the distance to the hive. If the hive stands in the middle of honey plants, it is not more than 2 km to fly, the contents of the goiter is delivered to the hive. If further - part of the product is absorbed by the bee, to replenish energy. Therefore, apiaries are mobile, move to where there are many flowers.
Working bees look after the uterus, feed it and brush it. For some unknown reason, they can strangle the uterus in their arms, taking it in a tight, compressing ball. Sometimes a beekeeper finds a sting in a corpse, the womb was killed by her servants, women workers, and children.
If you're wondering how bees make honey, watch the video:
The bee transfers honey to the hive and flies away for a new bribe. At the same time, a worker from the hive several times takes a drop of the brought product, draws it into the goiter and releases it, adds invertase from her goiter, continuing to ferment nectar. Next, the product is dried, removing excess moisture. It is laid out in a thin layer on the bottom and walls of the cells and allowed to evaporate moisture. The buzz of bees in front of the hive and inside it is the work of wings, ventilation of the hive. The honey, dried to a moisture content of 21%, is put in the top cell and sealed with a wax cap. From the moment a bribe hits a hive before honey ripens, it takes 10 days.
How much honey a bee collects depends on many factors. In bad weather bees do not fly. If the apiary is far away, the bee can make only one letka and a quarter bribe expensive to spend on itself. A healthy family gathers up to 150 kg of honey over the summer, half of which goes to support the family’s life. How hard the sweet product gets to the workers, say dry figures. One collector bee makes 400 sorties for life, flies about 800 km. For 1 g of honey you need to make 75 sorties. One bee for life can bring 5 g of honey, a spoon. A kilogram of honey is collected by a joint effort of 200 bees. The family can be up to 50,000 individuals. The end result depends on weather conditions, the availability of honey plants and family health.
The bee of the female worker has a significantly larger brain than the uterus and the drone.
On the shelves of up to 20 varieties of honey, even from the resin of pine there is, which is not very clear. Turpentine resin and bee, tying the proboscis, will die. How do bees collect honey only from wormwood when there are herbs around? Since ancient times, insects have been taught to collect only lime or buckwheat honey, feeding this product to working bees before leaving for work. The fed bees pollinate the desired field ten times more efficiently, selectively collecting the healing product.
How is honey
The process of extraction of honey takes place in 4 stages:
- worker bees chew nectar long and thoroughly and add enzymes to it. Sugar is broken down into fructose and glucose, which makes the product more digestible. Bee saliva has antibacterial properties that contribute to the decontamination of nectar and the extension of honey storage,
- finished products placed in pre-prepared cellswhich are filled at 2/3,
- after begins moisture evaporation process. Insects flap their wings, which increases the temperature. Over time, the moisture disappears, forming a viscous syrup,
- honeycomb with substance hermetically sealed with wax plugs, and in the created vacuum honey reaches full maturity. Wax jams contain the secretion of bee saliva, which disinfects the cell, preventing the fermentation of the finished product.
Why do bees harvest honey?
There are several options for answering the question why:
Nectar and further honey are the main carbohydrate food for these insects.
Another answer is feeding needs of brood larvae. From the 4th day youngsters begin to feed on a combination of water, pollen and honey. The uterus after its birth, also consumes honey food or a mixture of sugar and honey. What else do bees produce honey for? This product is an inexhaustible source for bee colonies, it produces the necessary amount of heat to maintain the required temperature in the hives (34-35 ° C).
Bee collects pollen
Bees, while collecting food, drag pollen on their paws, contributing to fertilization of honey plant seeds. For the whole summer they fly from flower to flower, carrying out the so-called fruitful “collaboration”.
How to collect honey?
No less interesting is the process of accumulating honey. Before the bees start honey collection, they get warning from scout beeswhich side is the honey collection and what is the distance to it. At this point, the bee-gatherers are ready to “start”, expecting a certain signal from the scouting bees. Upon the return of the first such bee to the apiary, insects receive information using information movements (beekeepers recently called it bee "dances") about the beginning of the honey harvest. The insect very quickly makes an incomplete circle around the honeycomb, then flies in a straight line, wagging its womb, and again makes a semicircle, but in the opposite direction.
If show bee "dance" on white paper, an eight is formed. In order for all honeybees to fly in for warning movements, the scout repeats the signaling movements several times. In addition to this, the “dance” ceremony involves the attraction of several gathering bees, which make exactly the same movements, touch her belly, and sometimes take fresh nectar from her. Motion signaling lead all bees in the hive to the active state. After delivery of fresh nectar to the bees, the scout flies back, followed by the rest of the insects mobilized and prepared for the beginning of their labor activity.
Scout bees look for new places daily for collecting nectar, where honey plantings with a high concentration of sugar in nectar. Sometimes, bad wind becomes an obstacle for the honey collection, making a forced break, and the collecting bees that flown in after the pollen return empty. Insects are observing and awaiting the resumption of nectar excretion to notify the family.
What is honey for?
Honey is essential for health and for the human body as a whole. It has the ability to stabilize and improve the condition of most organs., strengthens protective functions, improves blood circulation, slows down the aging process, is a powerful source of energy.
Beneficial features due to its origin and complex chemical components. Honey is known for its healing, antiviral, invigorating functions, due to which it is widely used in medicine.
How much honey does a bee family collect?
Each hive is home to one bee swarm with a queen bee. For collecting honey, 11–12 frames are standardly placed in a box.. With one such frame you can download about 1.5-2 kg of products. This means that up to 18 kg of a unique honey delicacy is collected in one ordinary hive. But when downloading honey, beekeepers don't often manage to get that amount of honey. So, as insects plentifully fill the middle of the honeycomb, and the outermost cells are left half full. Therefore, from one hive it is possible to get 13-14 kg of honey products.
Frame with bees
During the hot or rainy season, the amount of honey from one family does not even reach such a coefficient. Bees diligently collect nectar, but with a small number of honey plants, time is spent more, and the cells fill up more slowly. In such situations, with a single pumping yield of 7-10 kg.
Honey collection - the main occupation of bees. All efforts of the bee colony are aimed at collecting nectar and further preparation of honey products. Each individual of the family has certain functions, but despite this, their common goal is honey.
Why do bees make honey
For us, honey is a powerful tool for the prevention and treatment of many diseases, for honey it is a vital staple food, especially in the winter time. На самом деле, пчёлы делают мёд для себя, об этом можно узнать, углубившись в природу насекомых. Давайте же подробнее поговорим о питании пчёл.
Существование пчелиного семейства –это цепь взаимозависимых и взаимосвязанных процессов. У каждой особи своё особое предназначение. Working bees bring nectar and pollen and build honeycombs, scout bees fly around the territory, finding honey plants, the uterus incubates the offspring.
Even newborn individuals work, taking care to create optimal conditions in the nests for the appearance of new offspring and feeding the larvae.
A swarm of bees is numerous and at times can contain several thousand individuals. So, it is necessary to take care of large stocks of food, which is what bees are busy throughout the summer. As soon as the air warms up to 12 ° C, insects wake up from hibernation and start exploration. Until the first flowers bloom, the winged workers are already working so that during the honey collection period the beehives are prepared. Scouts inform the colony about the first blooming flowers using a special signal dance.
So the bees arrive at the place of the honey collection and start the extraction of the sweet material, which will become honey in the future. When lowering on a flower, the bee-gatherer using the organs of taste determines the presence of nectar. With the help of a proboscis (honey goiter), the bee collects a sweet substance. The proboscis of the insect is pierced by the endocrine glands and the plexus of blood vessels that help break down the sugar derived from nectar.
Worked winged workers until the end of August. In winter, contrary to popular belief, the bees do not hibernate, but overwinter in the hive, feeding on liquid food (honey and nectar) and solid (perga). Perga is the basis of the protein nutrition of bees, often called “bee bread”. Perga are lumps of pollen, which are milled in honeycomb cells and filled with honey.
How do bees make honey
Over the future honey also has to work hard, because nectar contains a lot of moisture that needs to be dried (on average 50% of water and the same amount of sugar). Due to evaporation caused by ventilation and heat in the hive, excess water is removed. Bees add enzymes of their own bodies (invertase), turning nectar into food.
In addition, thanks to the enzymes secreted by individuals, honey may not deteriorate for quite a long time. Under the influence of enzymes, hydrolysis of sucrose is formed in honey, so in the finished product there are 75% of natural easily digestible sugars (fructose and sucrose) and only 2-4% sucrose. Then the finished honey is stored in honey for aging in cells of cells, which lasts about 10 days. After the product ripens and dries to a moisture content of 21%, the bee “seals” the cells with a thin wax cap to prevent fermentation. Winged workers use ready honey as food as necessary. Honey fills the body of the bee with carbohydrates and water. Vitamins that are so rich in sweet honey are necessary for insects to work properly in their internal secretion glands.
In the dry summer, when there is not enough nectar, the bees begin to make honey from honeydew and the glucose substances of some plants (apple, pear, plum, rose, linden, maple, spruce, pine, aspen, oak, fir, elm, willow). Sometimes, honey plants also collect sweet excretions of some insects that are found on the surface of the leaves of plants (listoblashki, worm, aphids). Such honey is called padev, it is no less valuable than floral, but due to the high content of mineral salts, it is not suitable as food for bees. The lifespan of a bee that eats in the winter of the fall is more than halved. This statement is typical for the territories of the countries of the former post-Soviet space, where honeydew honey is more often of animal origin, from secretions of insects living on the leaves and refers to the second class. In some countries of Western Europe, honeydew honey is more valuable than flower honey, because it is mainly collected from honeydew. In such honey, 12 times more potassium and 8 times more ash elements than in flower.
The amount of wax that will be produced thanks to the wax glands of the bee colony also depends on the amount of nectar produced. And wax, as is known, is a building material, thanks to which honeycombs are built. Offspring is housed in the comb and stored food. To produce wax, honey plants need to stick together for about 20 hours, until the temperature in the hive rises to 27 ° C. At this temperature, tiny wax lumps stand out from the small glands on the bee's tummy. A bee scrapes such a lump with its paws and chews into a soft wax ball, after which it places it at the base of the honeycomb. The second honey worker stretches this ball, and the third after them completes the process. It's amazing how well-organized insects work in complete darkness.
Throughout the hive, female workers cling to the neighbor from above, being upside down and constantly work on the wax product. Every two sides of the base of the cells are built by separate teams working independently, but at the same time, the cells are in the form of a hexagon. This form is optimal for retaining the maximum amount of the original product. And although the thickness of the walls of honeycombs is less than a millimeter, their strength is such that a wax base weighing 1 kg, containing about 100,000 honeycombs, can withstand 22 kg of honey! For reference, to collect 1 gram of honey, you need to make 75 sorties. One working individual for life can bring only 5 grams of honey. A kilogram of the honey product is collected by the joint efforts of 200 bees. How many scientists of the whole world didn’t try to reproduce honey in the laboratory and steal the recipe of how bees make honey.
Nature is a unique technologist, everything in it is harmoniously like a clockwork and the bees are vivid proof, they are necessary to maintain the natural balance on our Earth. And how clever these little workers are ... Rumor has long been going on about the intelligence of these insects. We have already discussed the "dance of the bees", with the help of which intelligence individuals inform about the presence of honey plants, indicating the direction and distance of the plants. There are about 60 conventional symbols, which are served by bees in the "dance". Scientists also noted that the color of the hives on several apiaries is different, the bees "draw" a different curly scheme to accurately find their home. It also turned out that the honey-bearing insects can count, recognize individual pictures, and in the course of evolution, their minds will further improve and develop. It has been proven that bees are amenable to training, although the insect's brain is the size of a pin head. The bee colony is not only clearly organized, but also very thrifty and prudent. After all, the bee colony is stored with honey, in quantities several times higher than the norm they need. These reserves are needed in case of a long winter or a visit by uninvited guests. Therefore, we have the opportunity to take advantage of their food.
Literate beekeepers understand why bees need honey and correctly calculate the amount that insects need to overwinter. Unscrupulous beekeepers pump out their hive to the last drop, and, so that the bees do not die of starvation, feed them with sugar syrup. But sugar is food unsuitable for striped workers, there are no enzymes, natural substances and vitamins necessary for development. Therefore, appreciate what nature gives you and do not abuse its kindness. Breaking balance and harmony is easy, but we will reap the benefits of this ourselves, because we are also part of the ecosystem.