How Many Honey Bees Does It Take To Make A Teaspoon Of Honey?
It is no mistake that locally produced honey is making a big splash in the health and nutrition field. Although individuals have been growing and producing local honey for years, people are just now starting to realize all of the amazing health benefits of the substance. Growing honey requires specialized knowledge along with special equipment and it really isn’t something that someone can just jump right into without a little bit of research. It is well known that bees are hard workers, but how many bees does it actually take to produce a teaspoon of honey and how do you get bees to actually produce honey?
How Is A Honeycomb Produced?
You have probably noticed that bees always swarm in packs and colonies. If you see a single beehive there are likely hundreds of bees inside or swarming on the outside of it. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that, but what you might not know is that most of this colony is made up of female worker bees. It will be these very worker bees that produce beeswax. They produce this wax by utilizing their wax glands. Each female worker bee will have 4 pairs of wax glands located on the underside of her abdomen. Other bees like the queens and drones do not have these wax glands.
From this point what happens is liquid is excreted from these wax glands. When it dries, it will turn into clear flakes or scales. Once the flakes or scales appear, the bee will use it legs and mouth to mold the wax into those hexagon cells that make the honeycomb stand out. The whole process is truly amazing. That being said, it really is the young adult bees that are the most productive in the colony. In fact, bees that are either ten or eighteen days old will probably construct most of the entire honeycomb.
How Is Honey Made?
Okay, so now you know how the honeycomb is made. How is it filled with honey? This is another wondrous process. First, a bee will have to travel to a flower and extract the nectar out of it. The bee accomplishes this process by utilizing its long, tube-shaped tongue. The substance will be stored in the stomach where it is mixed with certain bodily enzymes. This mixture causes a chemical change that makes the substance more suitable for long-term storage.
The bee will now return to the hive where it passes the honey onto another bee. It does this by regurgitating the liquid from its stomach into the other bee’s mouth. This entire process will be repeated over and over again several times before the substance is lastly deposited into one of the hexagon tubes of the honeycomb. However, the process doesn’t stop there. From here, the honey will still be in a liquid form nothing like the thick substance that you would see bottled in a jar. The water has to evaporate from the nectar before it turns thick. Bees usually speed up the process by fanning the honeycomb with their wings.
Once the comb is filled entirely the bees will seal it with another layer of wax from their glands.
How Long To Make A Teaspoon Of Honey?
So, you can see that the honey making process is pretty intricate and complicated. What makes the feat even more amazing is that it takes one worker bee their entire life to produce 1/12th of teaspoon of honey. This means that it literally takes 12 honey female worker bees to produce a single teaspoon of honey. And, that would be the entire existence of their lives. In order to produce .5 pounds of honey it takes 30,000 bees and they have to travel 27,500 miles while visiting more than a million flowers in the process.