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Beekeeping and Honey Bees

2016/5/4 10:28:43

If you are venturing into the hobby or business of honey bees beekeeping, it is important to understand how the honey bee works to make the honey. Making honey is not an easy task for this tiny insect. In fact, the honey bee works hard every morning.

The Process of How Bees Make Honey

The process of making honey starts with the flower. Plants use nectar to lure the honey bees to them. The honey bee gathers nectar from the flower by using its straw-like proboscis to "drink" the nectar and store it in its "honey stomach." In return, the honey bee will transfer pollen grains from one flower to another, which pollinates the flower.

The process of converting nectar into honey requires a swarm of bees. Generally, the older worker bees will bring the nectar back to the bee hive. This leaves the hard work of actually transforming nectar into honey to the younger bees.

Nectar is mostly made up of water; however, it also contains some complex sugars. Bees will convert nectar into honey because it only contains about 14 to 18 percent of water. Therefore, honey is a better source of energy for the bees than nectar.

Once the nectar gets into the stomach, enzymes begin to break down the complex sugars into simple sugars. This break down is called inversion. Once the worker bee gets back to the hive, it will regurgitate the nectar that has been broken down. It will then regurgitate this inverted nectar into a cell of the honeycomb.

At this point, the honey bees will fan the nectar with their wings to evaporate any remaining water. Once the water is eliminated, the sugars will make the honey thicker. As soon as the honey is ready, the hive will cap the beeswax cell, which will seal the honey into the honeycomb to be used later.

Harvesting Honey

Now that the honey bee has made its honey, it is time for you to get to work. Harvesting honey is a simple process. Harvesting can begin once the frames are full of honeycombs and the bees have covered the honeycombs with wax caps. Once you see this, you can begin removing the honeycombs. The most important thing you can do to prepare for harvesting is to put on your beekeeping protective gear. Once the super is full of capped honeycombs, you will need to remove the bees from the super.

To make this job easier, try applying Bee-Go or Fishers Bee Quick. These products are offensive to bees and will get them to leave the super filled with the capped honeycomb allowing you to harvest the honey. These products will not harm the bees. They simply just do not like the smell.

Once you have access to the honeycomb, you will need to extract it. To do this, use a warm metal knife to remove the wax caps. A warm knife will make it easier to cut the wax. Simply dunk the knife in hot water to keep it warm. Remove the caps with a cheese cloth and place into a pot. The honey will drain right through the cloth. Now it is time to extract the honey.

Tips for Selling Honey for a Profit

If you have made the decision to sell your high quality honey for a profit, then you need to learn how to market your honey. You also need to understand what kind of honey will sell and who your target audience is.

People tend to buy two types of honey, which are liquid honey and comb honey. Liquid honey is the honey that is extracted from the comb and put into a jar. This type of honey is usually used for cooking and baking. Comb honey is purchased for the taste. People will put comb honey on their toast or mix it with peanut butter.

If you only have a little bit of honey to sell, then consider selling it locally to neighbors, friends, and family. If you end up with a farm, then consider current Internet marketing strategies to attract online customers.

The honey bee is an amazing insect and creates great tasting honey. You can reap the benefits by harvesting high quality honey by either eating or selling honey. Either way, the honey will be tasty for someone!

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