Sunday, 23 October 2011

Why do bees make honey?

The bees we call 'honey bees' (Apis Melifera) form a permanent colony.  Although each bee may not live for long, the colony of bees should continue indefinately, if disease, weather or predation don't get to it!

In the areas of the world where bees are native, there are generally distinct seasons, so plants do not flower all year round.  This means that the bees have to have some means of storing food to keep them going during the part of the year when they cannot collect nectar.  Larger animals get through the winter by storing food as fat inside their body and then using this energy over the winter.  Since one bee may not survive the winter it makes more sense to the colony to store its food supply externally.  This is honey. 

Saturday, 22 October 2011

How do bees make Honey?

I was asked this question at Hanbury Hall last week. Here is a description of the work that the bees do to turn nectar into honey.

These bees are filling wax cells with honey, ready  for sealing like the cells at the top of the photo