How do Bees Make Honey?

Cut Comb Honey Production Northumberland Honey Co

How do bees make honey?

Honey is a vital food source for bees but to produce honey we first need nectar. Honey bees gather nectar from flowers and transport it back to the hive in their stomachs. Once in the
hive the nectar is stored in wax combs but at this stage the water content of the nectar is
over 30%.
 
To preserve the nectar for a long period of time the bees generate heat that
reduces the water content of the nectar to below 20%, this prevents the nectar from
fermenting; the nectar is now called honey.
 

What happens if bees run out of honey?

 
When a colony of honey bees is in a hive it is no longer a wild colony and as beekeepers it is
our job to give that colony the best chance of survival possible.
 
Over 80% of colony survival comes down to hive positioning, so placing a hive close to
forage is a great way to mitigate a lack of forage and thus honey through summer.
 
However, due to climate change and shifting seasons, bees can become out of synchrony with our
native flowering plants. This has a direct effect on nectar coming into the hive, which can
ultimately lead to colony collapse. Under these circumstances, beekeepers can feed the
bees bakers fondant, which is eaten by the bees to stay alive but not stored in honey comb.
For more on climate change and bees please see our blo: Effect of Climate Change on Bees
 

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