Honeybees use nectar to make honey. To collect nectar and pollen, the bees fly at different distances from their hives. They usually fly at close distances, but in some cases they could have a greater reach - up to 7, 9 or even more kilometers. In the plains where there are no orientation objects (trees, bushes, roads, rivers, etc.), bees fly at closer radius than in places with more and visible cues and better forage. The useful range of flying bee is 1.5 - 2 km, that's why bees should not be placed at a greater distance from forage. Otherwise they lose unnecessary time and energy, waste much more food for their needs and soon die from overwork. It has been found through experiments, that at distances of about 3 km, bees bring only 1/3 of the collected food. They have difficulty in flying over vast water areas - lakes or large rivers - and in windy conditions. Loaded with nectar and pollen, they often mass fall and drown in the water.

When the worker visits a flower, she brings forward the proboscis(tubelike tongue) which is normally tucked under her "chin" and inserts it into the part of the flower where the nectar is. When the bee locates nectar, she sucks until she has extracted all that is within her reach and stores it in her "honey stomach".Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach (honey sac) which they use like a "nectar basket" and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honeystomachs. Not all plant species have nectaries that secrete enough nectar to attract bees. 

On the way back to the hive, processing of the nectar has already begun by the addition of bee enzymes. The gathered nectar usually has a moisture content of about 60-80%, depending on the climate. One of the key processes in the processing of the nectar in honey is the evaporation of part of the water contained therein.  If the moisture level is not reduced, it will lead to fermentation and spoilage of nectar. 

When bee is "back home", nectar load is transmitted to 4-5 worker bees in the hive, which in turn transmit it to 8-10 other young bees. Thus nectar brought by a flying bee is distributed between 50 young bees. These "house bees" "chew" the nectar for about half an hour. During this time, the nectar is enriched with a lot of  enzymes and nutrients. Thereby also they evaporate water from the nectar. When the water content decreases to 35 - 40%, bees deposit it, in the form of droplets, on the bottom of the wax cellule and gradually fill it. Evaporation of the water content in the cells remains active thanks to the ventilation of the hive, which workers perform by intensive waving their wings. From the hive always can be heard buzzing, because the bees never stop working, even at night.

When the water content in the nectar reach 15 - 20/21%, and the amount of sucrose by the action of enzymes reach 5%, nectar is converted into honey. Processing of nectar into honey lasts 1-3 days. It depends on the water content, temperature, humidity in the hive, the strength of the colony and the flow of nectar. When the honey that has been stored is reduced to a minimum moisture content of 18%, the bees will manufacture a beeswax cap over it. All capped honey is ripe and the moisture will range from 16.5-18%.

The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.



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