Is Honey Really Bee Barf?

Posted by Nancy on 2/1/2018 to Nature Stories

My granddaughter called and told me that she would never eat honey again. “It’s bee barf!” she exclaimed. I really did not have an answer for her so I have done a little research and thought I would share this information in case you find yourself in the same predicament.

First, you have to know that bees collect nectar from flowers.  Bees use 170 odor receptors on their antennae to find the correct flower.  These odor receptors, called chemoreceptors, are so sensitive they can find a favorite flower in your garden, recognize members of their hive, and communicate with other bees giving them the location of the best flowers.

Once the nectar has been found the bee uses his proboscis (it’s like a straw) to suck it up.  First, the bee uses the nectar to eat.  It goes into its stomach in the digestive system. Once the bee has fed it continues to collect nectar in a separate stomach.  There proteins and enzymes are added to the nectar and honey is made.

When the bee returns to the hive it deposits the honey into a cell in the honeycomb. Now this bee will only make 1/12 of a teaspoon in its lifetime. Once the cell is full other bees will use their wings to fan the honey to prepare it for long-term storage. The water content in nectar is approximately 80% and in honey it is 14 -18%

When the water has been removed the cell is capped with more beeswax and the bees move onto the next cell in the honeycomb.

So, in answer to Hailly’s question, you are sort of right and sort of wrong.  The bee does regurgitate the honey, but that honey has not entered its digestive system and does not contain digestive juices.  Personally, I’m eating honey.  It tastes good!

If you also are going to indulge in sampling honey along with me you may want to share this with a bee themed gift idea

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