The golden gleam of runny honey on toast, honey roasted veg or a glass of our signature Beeble whisky is so enticing it is easy not to think much more about it. However, the reason bees make honey goes beyond our enjoyment and we’re BUZZing to tell you about it...
To give you the simple answer, bees make honey to provide them with energy. They need it for flight – their wings beat at over 11,000 times a minute! – and in the winter months they need a food supply for when they can’t forage. The nectar they collect contains a huge range of important nutrients that help them stay alive when they form their ‘winter clusters’ to stay warm. This means they can come into spring healthy and happy, ready to make more honey.
Aside from energy, making honey has many other amazing side effects. (They may be small, but their impact is mighty!) Bees have tiny, microscopic hairs which collect pollen from the flowers they land on. This pollen is integral to prospering a thriving colony as its high protein content is essential for the healthy growth of young worker bees to become strong and capable foragers. Bees also underpin our survival as they pollinate our fruit and veggies.
Honey production is an ingenious series of natural processes that align perfectly to put the yummy sweetness on your table...or in your glass! Every part of the bee is engineered to be brilliantly efficient in collecting their precious food. From their expert tongues which suck out nectar from plants, to their ‘honey stomach’ (Sort of like the space we have for puddings...!) which uses specialist enzymes break down nectar, their process is fool proof. Once back at the hive, the bees spread this syrup into a tiny honeycomb cell, increasing the surface area. This helps water evaporation, making the nectar thicker. They then reduce water content even further by flapping their wings, before capping the honey with beeswax to preserve it for when they need it in the winter.
Bees make honey for survival whilst saving the world at the same time, I’d say that’s pretty sweet!