Do you ever wonder why honey tastes superbly delicious? We thank our bee friends for this gift. But what do bees eat that makes honey pleasant and healthy at the same time?
Remember that there are different kinds of bees and they have different processes on how to collect food. In this post, we’ll focus more on honey bees and learn why and how bees consume nectar and how they gather pollen.
Food Hunting of Bees
When bees find food and water, this process is called foraging. They fly as far as six miles away from their home in search of food. Their food sources are nectar, pollen, and other sweet treats. For instance, a honey bee is attracted to liquid sweets and sugars.
That’s why bees love to buzz around the backyard or picnic places when they smell a sweet scent. When the bees look for food, they are not aggressive, but when they are disturbed or feel aggressiveness pointed towards them, they can sting.
Pollen is a powdery, yellow or green substance that is discharged from a male flower. This pollen is sticky and is transported by insects or animals. Honey bees collect this pollen because it naturally sticks to their body.
As the bees move from one flower to another, they help pollinate other plants by spreading the pollen to other flowers, even fruits and vegetables.
The honeybees mix the pollen with nectar and produce Bee Bread, fermented bee pollen. It is used to feed the larvae, rich in protein, and is available too as an organic food supplement for humans.
Bee Bread is an organic superfood that contains many vitamins and minerals that are proven to have many health benefits. Examples of such are lowering cholesterol levels, boosting the immune system, and helping prevent heart problems.
Not only do the bees collect pollen for their food, but there are even Bee Pollen or Bee Pollen in Honey products available for human consumption. It boasts many health benefits, is 100% organic, and has an excellent nutritional value.
Nectar is a liquid that is filled with sugar and is produced by plants that attract bees. In short, this is a sweet fluid produced by plants that animals and insects like to eat.
When honey bees collect nectar and pollen for the entire colony, they pollinate the plants. The bees store the nectar in their stomach and pass on another bee until the water diminishes. When the water diminishes, the bee stores it in the honeycomb’s cell, the nectar then turns into honey.
What Plants Do Bees Like?
Bees usually look for flowers by relying on their sense of vision. They locate flowers in the color spectrum ranging from violet to orange. Bees have the cool trait of not being able to see red flowers, which helps to prevent them from having an encounter with hummingbirds (who like collecting food from red flowers).
The colorful petals of these flowers have shiny patches that a human eye can’t see are bee and nectar guides. The flower’s shape is essential also, as bees need a flat area to land on while collecting nectar.
Some bees do not leave the hive; that’s why there are worker bees in the colony. These worker bees are responsible for hunting and drinking nectar. These worker bees use the pollen and nectar gathered to feed the other house bees and the larvae. They return to the hive and pass it along with other worker bees for storage in a process called trophallaxis.
The worker bees regurgitate the nectar to other house bees, then they mix it with a particular enzyme to expose it to the air to evaporate. These then produce the raw honey that is capped with beeswax and is kept in storage.
Other than nectar, bees also gather water to dilute the honey and to cool their hive during hot days. Isn’t that cool? The bees have a system when it comes to collecting, storing, and processing their food.
All the larvae eat honey, but some larvae are destined to be future queen bees. These special larvae are also fed with royal jelly (secretion produced by young female bees).
All the other larvae get to consume royal jelly too, but only in the early days of their development. Meanwhile, the future queen bee is fed with royal jelly for the rest of its developmental stage. Because of this, queen bees are expected to be twice the size of the ordinary worker and honey bees. And no, queen bees do not participate in hunting and collecting the food.
From Nature to Bee to Honey
The flower nectar is stored inside the honeycomb after it has been broken down into simple sugars. The constant fanning and the design of the honeycomb enables the nectar to evaporate to create the sweet honey that we all love.
You may notice that there are different honeys that differ in color and flavor. This is because it depends on the source of the nectar. For example, nectar from orange blossoms are lighter in color, but nectar from wildflowers and avocado has this dark amber color.
One hive can produce sixty-five pounds of honey each year. The beekeepers collect the honeycomb and scrape the wax cap to harvest honey. After the extraction of honey, beekeepers make sure to remove wax and other particles by straining or heating. Then viola, you have your honey that’s not just delicious but also has a lot of nutritional benefits.
You may notice that through the process of bees collecting and processing their food, they produce superfoods that surprisingly are beneficial for human consumption and have many health benefits.
Bee products mentioned above like Bee Bread, Honey Royal Jelly with Propolis, Bee Pollen, and Bee Pollen in Honey are something worth checking out. There are more bee products we offer in Sweet Honey Co, you should give a try.
Aside from Polish imported honey products, we also have bee products and cosmetics for your everyday needs. We send parcels to Scotland, Wales, and England in solid packaging.