Why do bees make honey?


What's the buzz about bees and honey??

During warm months of the year, bees get their food from flowers by eating nectar and pollen. (Yum!) However, because they know there will be fewer (if any) flowers to be found in winter, they make honey in order to prepare! Honey is the food bees rely on when the weather gets cold.

Bees live in special communities where each insect has its own special job. Certain bees are responsible for collecting nectar from flowers to bring back to the hive stored in their hind legs. (A bee sometimes visits over a thousand flowers just in one trip!)

Upon arriving back at the hive, the collected nectar is stored in little wax cells that the bees have made for it. The nectar is much more watery than the honey it will become; the bees deposit it into their hive's combs and then allow the heat inside the hive to evaporate some of its water so that it's better preserved. (They also help it along and create more air movement by fanning their wings a lot, which is why beehives are always abuzz!) Once it's ready, the bees seal it over with wax to prevent it from drying out too much and to save it for the winter!

by Mya Kagan (Whyzz writer)


Getting Ready!

Bees make honey to get ready for winter. What are some other things in nature that prepare for winter in special ways? One good example might be squirrels, who collect nuts to eat when the cold comes! Another example is bears, who spend winter in a deep sleep. Trees also prepare for winter by losing their leaves!Can you think of any other examples??

Further Information

Another reason why bees collect nectar and make honey is that it actually helps flowers! Flowers rely on bees and their honey-making instincts; when a bee visits a flower to get nectar, it becomes covered in that flower's pollen. As the bee continues to visit more and more flowers, it drops pollen from one flower onto another. This allows flowers to pollinate, which means they become ready to produce more flowers!!


Honey Bee. Study of Northern Virginia Ecology. Fairfax County Public Schools, Island Creek Elementary School.