What does a honey bee eat and how do they collect it?
I am often asked these two questions, so I am sharing that knowledge today, with all of you…I hope you find it as interesting as I do!
The honey bee eats nectar (sugary water) and pollen (yellow to brown protein powder depending on the flower) which are made by flowers. Babies are fed tons of pollen, to provide the protein they need to grow. The abundance of flowers in the spring (and lots of pollen), make it so that most bee babies are born in the spring. The nectar collected is what the worker bee uses to make honey. So the bee arrives at a flower, and proceeds to drink as much nectar as she can hold. She then passes the nectar to another worker bee (the nectar is held on her tongue) so the water in it can evaporate. This way it is highly concentrated, and never spoils. Seriously, the honey bee is brilliant! When most of the water has evaporated, the sweet nectar becomes honey, which is then stored in the hive. When all the moisture is gone, the bee then caps the honey for long term storage. During winter, when there aren’t many sources of food in blooming flowers, bees use this stored honey for food sparingly. One of the most amazing things a bee does is in the spring and summer, when there are plenty of flowers, bees tell each other where to find nectar and pollen. If a worker finds an apple tree for example with lots of flowers, she marks it with a pheromone (scent). Then she flies back to the hive and does the wiggle dance in the hive. This dance tells other workers what direction to fly in and how far to go depending on the moves chosen. Then they fly off to find her scent, the apple flowers/blossoms, the pollen and the nectar!