Bees always work to the best of their abilities in order to make delicious honey. Although bees are exceptional honey producers, they weren’t born with this talent, they grow into it. During their lives bees develop lots of different skills, and do many jobs as their bodies develop. The very youngest bees stay in the brood nest and spend their time cleaning out cells, preparing for the queen to lay more eggs, and eating lots of pollen.
The pollen helps the bees’ glands develop and they become nurse bees producing brood food. Their job now is to feed the queen and the larvae and have them fit and ready for honey producing duties. The pollen also helps the wax glands develop so that they can cap cells and build honey comb. When they are about 16 days old their glands change over to making the enzyme that is added to nectar to change it into honey. These bees then become the honey processors, receiving nectar from the bees that have collected it from flowers. They add enzymes and evaporate the moisture in the nectar, concentrating the flavours and ripening the honey.
Finally, it is the oldest bees that actually go out into the fields and gather the nectar from the flowers. Once a bee knows how to make honey it makes a lot in its lifetime and does it very well - of course! A honeybee visits between 50 and 100 flowers during one ‘collection flight’ from the hive.
How much honey can 1 bee make in its lifetime?
A single bee can produce 1/12th teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. This may not seem like a lot but there are a lot of bees in a hive which = a lot of teaspoons of honey!
TOP FACT: To fill a whole jar of honey, bees will gather nectar from 2 million flowers.