Question: what is honey made up of and how do bees make it?

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  1. Honey is made from nectar. Nectar is mostly water, about 80% I think, with some sugars in it. Worker bees go out and collect nectar from flowers by drinking it and storing it in a 2nd stomach that is specially for storing nectar.

    When they get back to the hive they process it into honey by a sort of digestion. They bring it out of their nectar stomach and sort of chew it for a bit. When they do this they use enzymes to break down some of the sugars in the nectar is simpler sugars that are easily digestible by bees. Then they deposit it in the honey comb, where some of the water evaporates to thicken it into honey.

    The queen then comes and lays her eggs in the honey. The eggs hatch to larva who feed on the honey and grow into bees. If it’s a beekeepers hive they set up the hive so that the bees make lots of extra comb and fill it with honey. Then the beekeeper takes this extra comb and harvests the honey before the queen lays eggs in it.


  2. Hi Claire – Thanks for your question! Keep asking them 🙂

    I don’t want this to put you off.. but basically, honey is bee vomit. Kind of gross I know, but actually really very yummy. Which is not something I often say about vomit.

    So honey is made up of whatever the bees have been feeding on – usually nectar and pollen – and the types of plants and flowers the bee has been eating will flavour the honey. So that’s why there are different types of honey, like manuka honey from bees who feed on a manuka bush. Australian honey is very famous in the world, cause the bees feed on gum trees and eucalyptus which gives the honey a wonderful flavour.

    So worker bees fly around and collect nectar, and store it in sacs on their body. You can see this on some bees on their legs – looks like little yellow pouches. Then they get back to the hive and VOMIT it into the mouth of the house bees. The house bees then mix it all up with enzymes (proteins that help concentrate the honeys flavour) and they store it in the honeycomb till it matures into honey.

    I hope I haven’t put you off your honey on toast!



  1. thanks! my dad is a bee keeper and has 47 hives, theres no way that would put me off, i got no choice!