Honey is the chemical change of the nectar substance obtained by bees from various flowers and fruit buds as a result of the invertase enzyme treatment by the honey stomach organ in the bees. The main substance of honey is the nectar substance, as can be understood from the definition. This substance determines the color, taste, and smell of honey. Pollen has no effect on honey production. Pollen is used only to meet the protein needs of bees. There are several stages in the honey-making. As a result of the invertase enzyme process, nectar becomes a substance that contains vitamins and minerals. The honey is then placed in the cells in the beehives and covered with a lid made of wax. The honey, which is transferred to the honeycomb by the bees, comes to the taste and consistency that comes to the tables with a very special ventilation system provided by the bees.
Honey production is a very laborious process. So much so that only the collection of half a kilogram of raw nectar means that 900 bees work one day long. All of this collected nectar can not be turned into honey. Because nectar rates and quality of flowers are different from each other. This is related to the sugar concentration of nectar coming from flowers. In some flower species, this sugar concentration is quite high, while in some species it is very small.
450 grams of honey is produced by 17,000 honey bees, collecting nectar from 10,000,000 flowers. On average, a honey bee collects nectar from 500 flowers per day. This trip takes approximately 25 minutes. When these ratios are calculated, in order to obtain 450 grams of pure honey, 7000 working hours are required for bees.
When the form of honey is examined, it can be said that it has a sweet structure. The reason for this is the levulose, grape sugar and sucrose sugars in honey. These sugar ratios make up 76% of honey. The other 17% is water, the remaining 7% is phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, iron, manganese, aluminum, sulfur, pollen, silver, protein, albumin, dextrin, nitrogen, and several acids. The quality of the honey is determined by the substances formed in this 7% fraction. The most important feature of honey is mixing with blood quickly where normal sugar is mixed with blood after the digestion in the digestive system. Honey is a food that can be mixed directly into the blood very quickly. So, how is honey produced?
Engineers making hexagonal-shaped combs, craftsmen who turn nectars from flowers into magnificent food, winged miracles in nature. Yes, I am talking about bees. They are the producers of honey that we all love with its flawless appearance, unique flavor, and nourishing content from nature. The production stage of honey is an event in which we have to think at least once in life and know the details.
How is honey produced as a source of healing that accompanies our breakfasts and sweetens our drinks? How do bees work to produce this miracle? So, the answer to all this is exactly the secret of nature. By solving this secret step by step, we will answer the question “How is honey produced?
One Factory and Unique Factory Employees
We understand from the bees and the people who consume the honey collected by the bees seen in the wall paintings made during the neolithic age that this ancient flavor has been in our lives for a long time. In other words, the date of honey meeting with the human palate goes back a long time. Of course, the days when people climbed trees or rocks and used honey in beehives as food were left behind. Now we can reach this natural flavor instantly on the shelves of the markets. Well, let’s see the stages that honey, which is indispensable, goes through before we go to the tables.
First Step: Hive
We can think of the hive as a factory. The bees fill their honey into the honeycombs in their hives and then offer us this sweet flavor. First, I want to talk about how the honeycomb is made. The engineers (maybe architects, I cannot decide) of the honeycomb algorithm, which is still considered to be a mathematical miracle in its perfect hexagonal shape are completely bees. If we think of a honeycomb, we need to get away from the idea that a single bee does it, because this is teamwork.
A large group of bees is gathered and set to work to produce these hexagonal compartments. You might think this crowd of bees will create chaos, but the result is enormous. Thus, when the hexagons forming the honeycomb are joined in the middle, the joints are never noticed and there is no shift in the angles of the hexagons. Even the wall thickness of these honeycomb cells is the same and perfect. Bees build combs to store food, grow larvae or shelter.
Perfect Teamwork: Honeycomb Making
The basic construction material of the combs is wax. Bees secrete wax from the 4 pairs of secretory glands located under their bellies. They take the secreted waxes between the glands with the help of their legs. Bees are very crowded when making honeycomb because they are interlocked to provide enough warmth for the wax. When sufficient temperature is achieved, the wax is secreted.
They produce thousands of hexagonal cells with the wax they produce, combining the cells they produce to form combs. They also measure the width and thickness of the honeycomb cells thanks to their sensitive sensory hairs. Therefore, these shapes are completely flawless. The bees leave their honey in these perfect combs.
A Team Work: The Honey Making Phase of Bees
We know where the bees hide their food and how they make this place. The answer to the question of how do bees make honeycomb is one of the most fascinating parts of the story. But the miracles of honey production are not over yet. Let’s go back to the beginning. I mean, the first meeting of the bee and the flower.
Flowers are one of the most beautiful parts of the world with their visual richness. Flowers appealing to our eyes and attracting their scents contribute greatly to the formation of honey thanks to their relationship with bees. Because the bees are interested in the nectar of the flowers. They collect nectars from the flowers and fill them in their pouches. They mix the nectar collected in this pouch with the enzymes they produce and return to the combs in their hives to ripen the mixture.
That’s where logistics comes in. The worker bee leaves the honey brought to the hive to the bee in the hive. Because his job is to collect nectar completely and mix it with the enzymes and leave it in the hive. As soon as it leaves the nectar in the hive, it goes back to collecting material. The brought material is taken by the bees performing the hive service and carried to the honeycombs. The transported materials are also pending in the placed honeycomb cell.
Working Program of Worker Bees
Only female bees can produce honey. Male bees are only used to breed and maintain generation. In other words, all of the honey we eat consists of the labor of female bees. We call worker bees the bees who blend the contents of the flowers with their enzymes and store them in honeycombs.
A worker bee carries out many different tasks throughout his life cycle and tirelessly collects nectars and brings them to the hive. She cleans herself and sets out for more nectar and never gets tired of it. She devotes his short life entirely to it. She visits the flowers about 180,000 times to produce 1 gram of honey. The amount of honey that a bee collects during its lifetime is 1/12 of a teaspoon. From this information, we can understand how a great effort honeymaking requires, which is lined up on the shelves of the market and easily accessible. Moreover, honey bees are very strong. They can fly by carrying more nectar than their own weight.
Final Stage: Honey Collection and Analysis
Now the business is out of bees. Bees produced honey, but the process to offer it to humanity is not over. In this process, of course, people come into play. Beekeepers place wax honeycomb mats on the hives they build or buy. Beekeepers placing honey on honeycomb mats now open their hives after the process described above is completed.
After the honeycombs are filled, they are ripened by the bees and then glazed. By the beekeeper, the combs are removed from the hive and the glaze on them is peeled off. It is then placed in the filtration mill for preparation for analysis.
The filtered honey is filled into containers and analyzed in Research and Quality Control Laboratories. These analyses are necessary to understand that honey is 100% natural and to determine the quality of honey. For this purpose, hundreds of parameters are tested during the analysis. If the analysis results meet the quality standards, honey is packed and placed on market shelves.
The story begins with the settling of a bee on a flower is actually the miracle of nature, the labor of thousands of bees. In addition, the bee’s intelligence, talent, the sensitivity of the beekeeper, the advent of honey in the R & D centers that guarantee the naturalness and flavor of honey is the other parts of the adventure of honey coming to our tables. It is a good thing that this miracle arises from the collaboration of nature and human beings are in our lives.
Some people see beekeeping as a hobby and supplementary work, while others see it as a full-time job. As a business, beekeeping can be a good source of livelihood. If you are interested in beekeeping and have the capital to beekeepers, explore the possibilities of getting into this business. This guide will help you with some basic issues you will need for keeping.
- Outlines of Beekeeping
If you have decided to grow bees and produce honey, you should have the necessary elements for starting, such as tools and equipment. For a small start, your bees will need a queen, hatching, honey containers, honey boxes, clothes (hats, aprons, and tulle to protect the face), hand irons, kettles for pouring honey, manual or motorized blowers and a deep freezer to store honey.
Instead, you can also manage a large bee farm. You can buy honey from small farmers and distribute them to schools, restaurants, families, herbalists, and hotels with your own label. Small farmers usually do not waste their time and energy to market their crops. You can carry out a wide range of marketing activities by working with larger equipment and maybe 10-20 employees.
- Tips for Beekeeping
Research current honey production standards. If you want to receive state support, you must start with some number of hives determined by your state. If you produce organic honey, you can get some support per hive. If you are going to take care of your small bee farm full-time, you can do it alone, but when it’s time to take the honey out, you’ll need someone to help you. For larger aquaculture projects, you will need to hire workers, otherwise, your business will lack manpower and maintenance requirements and will eventually disintegrate.
If you are going to be a full-time beekeeper, you can hire especially your family and your children. In this way, you can cut costs and get your children accustomed to business life at a young age. The types of honey produced vary depending on what you feed the bees. Since different flowers have different sugar ratios, honey is produced in different types. For example, honey produced in some vicinities is very valuable compared to the others. Experiment with different types of flowers and see the results. You can specialize in the production of certain types of honey by addressing a specific audience. The temperature affects the quality of honey when extracting honey. Try to maintain the quality of honey production by taking measures as much as possible.