1286 bees need to work their whole life, to fill a jar of honey. A jar of honey weighs 750g (27 ounces) when full. A single worker bee produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime, which weighs 7g, therefore, to make a whole jar of honey, it will take 108 teaspoons of honey.
In reality, it takes more than this number to get a jar of honey, for bees always work together as a colony and the process of making honey entails teamwork. On average, a colony can have up to 100,000 honey bees. Before the final honey product is produced, it will demand the hard work and input of over 30,000 bees working together to generate a jar of honey. Some are involved in nectar and pollen collection from the flowers, while others are involved in the finer details in the hive once the worker bees have collected the raw materials needed for the honey production. The production of honey is paramount to the colony’s survival, and therefore, all the bees do their best to make sure the process continues quickly and smoothly.
The amazing process, details, and outstanding labor that goes into the production of honey is what makes honeybees fascinating insects.
Honey is one of the most desirous and essential food to humans. Many people are mesmerized by how bees operate and have endless questions about some of the honey process aspects.
Keep reading to find out more fascinating facts about honeybees and their honeyproduction.
How Many Bees Does It Take to Make A Teaspoon of Honey?
Although a teaspoon of honey may seem like an insignificant amount to a human being, you will be shocked to learn that it takes a lifetime for several bees to make it. When the weather is conducive, the flowers are in full bloom, and the bees are happily buzzing about, it will still demand the input of several bees to get enough honey to fill a teaspoon.
In every hive, there are always different categories of bees. They are different in terms of their role within the colony. Of course, the most guarded and critical part of the hive is the queen bee. She has the lifetime job of laying eggs to keep the hive growing and surviving to replace the dying bees. Apart from the drones, the worker bees are arguably the most crucial. Without them, there would be no honey. They are the ones who go foraging for food and moving from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen. Essential materials in the honey building process.
Even after traveling far and wide, a single worker bee can maximumly collect 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. Thus, you will need the combined effort of 12 worker bees to produce just a single teaspoon of honey!
This is nothing short of a miracle of nature. Honey bees indeed are minute miracle workers, helping sweeten the world in their simple way.
How Long do Bees need to Make their first Honey?
If you were to take a colony of bees and place them in a new hive, for them to start producing honey from scratch, it would take about 4 months. But this first time, the honey may not even be enough to be harvested.
Before you are tempted to think this is a long time, you must understand honey production’s complex process. Many variables are involved, and many bees have to take part since it is not a one bee job.
To start with, the worker bees have to begin collecting the necessary materials required in producing honey. Primarily, these are; nectar and pollen. If your hive is in a place where flowers are hard to come by, such as in an arid area, forcing your bees to fly very far to locate nectar and pollen, the honey production process will automatically be slowed down.
Nectar is a sugary juice found in the flowers blossom, and so is the pollen. Flowers have anthers, and these are the location of pollen. That is why bees love flowers. It is a significant contributor to the final honey product. Pollen is a small grain-like substance.
Bees suck the nectar into a special stomach for storage and transportation to the hive, where the bees making the honey suck it out. But not all of it is necessarily carried to be used for honey making. Some of the nectar is used by the bee in its digestive process so that it has the energy to fly around and continue to work effectively.
On the other hand, the pollen is collected and rolled into a ball-like structure to be carried by the bee on her legs. A worker bee can carry loads almost equal in weight to that of her own. They are incredibly diligent. The bee’s hairy body is what makes it able to collect and hold the load to itself and transport it successfully back to the hive. A single bee can have thousands of hairs on its body for this purpose.
Upon returning to the hive, the bee delivers her collection of the day to the inhouse bees by mouth. Transferring nectar from one bee to another reduces the moisture content to about 20% from 70%. This is what turns it into honey. At times, the nectar can be stored in the honeycomb cells, and the higher temperatures within the hive will help reduce the moisture content before the mouth-to-mouth process commences.
The final process of honey production is storing the honey and capping it with beeswax. The pollen will be mixed with the nectar to create food for larvae known as bee bread. The bee repeats the process throughout her life. She is flying out to collect pollen and nectar and handing it over to the other indoor bees.
The bees that fly out to collect pollen are known as forager bees. After hatching, they begin their lifetime job of foraging from the age of about three weeks, and as they mature up, they get heavier responsibilities and thus have very little time doing nothing.
How Many Days Does It Take to Make One Honey Comb?
It can take from 7 days to even 2 months for bees to produce one full honeycomb depending on the colony’s strength. For robust colonies, when there is an abundance of honey, it can take as few as 3 days or even quicker. At times, this can take even 24 hours.
The variation in time is because of the variable factors involved in honeycomb making. The size of the colony affects the nectar collected every day. If the number of bees is larger, then the honeycomb will fill up faster. Also, an established colony is not the same as a newly established colony. Also, the availability of feed for the bees affects their speed of building a honeycomb. The good thing is that the honey can be harvested as soon as the comb is 80% full.
How Many Flowers Do Bees Need to Visit to Fill 1 Jar?
Flowers are at the center of the honey-making process. Bees visit flowers and carry pollen and nectar back to the hive, and they keep doing that several times throughout their lives. To build 1 jar of honey (about 500g/1pound), the bees must visit about 2 million flowers. Every forager can visit from 50 to 100 bees in a day to collect nectar and pollen.
Without flowers, there would be no honey. It is the same reason that causes honey production to go down during spring because there are almost no flowers for the bees to get pollen or nectar. The beekeeping community must work together to ensure that flowers on the planet earth are protected from extinction. Also, you should ensure your apiary has flowers in the vicinity. You can even plant a garden yourself.
How Many Jars of Honey Does A Beehive Produce Per Day/Month/Year?
A strong colony can produce between 50 to 100 pounds (equivalent to 20 to 45 kgs) of honey per year. A good hive with strong bees can give an output of 2 to 5 pounds (1 to 2.5 kg) of honey in a day. However, the monthly production is dependent on the prevailing weather conditions. When the weather is conducive and flowers are in full bloom during peak months, bees can produce 10 to 15 kgs (22 to 30 pounds) of honey every month.
How Much Distance Do Bees Fly For 1 Jar of Honey?
According to research, bees have been found to travel for up to 6km (4miles) to collect nectar and pollen. To collect enough for 1 jar of honey, the bees would have to travel up to 90,000miles (60,000km) visiting flowers.
The hard work that bees put into making honey is what makes them extraordinary creatures. I hope all you have gained from this article will help you to appreciate bees much more. They sacrifice a lot to produce their pure gold.