Articles, Blog

How Do Bees Make Honey?

October 14, 2019

[MUSIC] The western, or European honeybee, pollinates
three-fourths of the fruits, veggies and nuts we eat. We’d be in trouble without ‘em.
Of course, there’s a reason we don’t call them zucchini bees, almond bees, or apple
bees. They also give us honey. [MUSIC] One healthy hive will make and consume more
than 50 kg of honey in a single year, and that takes a lot of work. Honey is made from nectar, but it doesn’t
come out of flowers as that golden, sticky stuff. After finding a suitable food source,
bees dive in head-first, using their long, specially-adapted tongues to slurp tiny sips
of nectar into one of two stomachs. A single bee might have to drink from more
than a thousand flowers to fill its honey stomach, which can weigh as much as the bee
itself when full of nectar. On the way back to the hive, digestive enzymes are already
working to turn that nectar into sweet gold. When she returns to the hive, the forager
bee will vomit the nectar into the mouth of another worker. That bee will vomit it into
another bee’s mouth, and so on. This game of regurgitation telephone is an
important part of the honey-making process, since each bee adds more digestive enzymes
to turn long chains of complex sugars in the raw nectar into simple monosaccharides like
fructose and glucose. At this point, the nectar is still pretty
watery, so the bees beat their wings and create an air current inside the hive to evaporate
and thicken the nectar, finally capping the cell with beeswax so the enzyme-rich bee-barf
can complete its transformation into honey. Because of its low water content and acidic
pH, honey isn’t a very inviting place for bacteria or yeast spoilage, and it has an
incredibly long shelf life in the hive or in your pantry. Honey has been found in Egyptian
tombs dating back thousands of years, pretty much unspoiled… although I wouldn’t personally
eat it, just in case. For one pound of honey, tens of thousands
of foraging bees will together fly more than three times around the world and visit up
to 8 million flowers. That takes teamwork and organization, and although they can’t
talk they do communicate… with body language. Foragers dance to tell other bees where to
find food. A circle dance means flowers are pretty close to the hive, but for food that’s
farther away, they get their waggle on. The waggle dance of the honey bee was first
decoded by Karl von Frisch, and it’s definitely one of the coolest examples of animal communication
in nature. First the bee walks in a straight line, waggling
its body back and forth and vibrating its wings, before repeating in a figure eight.
Whatever angle the bee walks while waggling tells the other bees what direction to go.
Straight up the line of honeycombs, then the food is in the direction of the sun. If the
dance is pointed to the left or right, the other bees know to fly in that angle relative
to the sun. The longer the waggle, the farther away the
food is, and the better the food, the more excited the bee shakes its body. If that’s not amazing enough, even if they
can’t see the sun itself, they can infer where it is and the time of day by reading
the polarization of light in the blue sky. A single bee is a pretty simple creature,
but together they create highly complex and social societies.
There’s three main classes in a beehive: Drones, workers, and queens. When a new queen is born, she immediately
runs around and kills her sisters, because there can be only one.
During mating season, she’ll fly to a distant hive to mate with several males and store
away the sperm, which she’ll use back at her home hive to lay more than a thousand
eggs a day throughout the rest of her life. Any unfertilized eggs, those that don’t
join up with sperm, will mature into male drones, which means they only have one set
of chromosomes. But fertilized eggs are all genetically female,
destined to become either queens or workers. Queens do the egg-laying of course, but worker
bees are the backbone of the beehive. So what makes most females become workers,
while just one wears the hive crown? A baby bee’s diet activates genetic programming
that shifts its entire destiny. Every bee larva is initially fed a nutrient-rich
food called royal jelly, but after a few days, worker bee babies are switched to a mixture
of pollen and honey called “bee bread”. But queens eat royal jelly their whole life,
even as adults. Scientists used to think it was just royal
jelly that put queens on the throne, but just last year they discovered one chemical in
bee bread, the food that queens don’t get, that keeps worker bees sterile. Being a queen
seems to be as much about what bees don’t eat as what they do. Making honey is insect farming on its grandest
scale, with intricate societies cooperating to make a food fit for bear tummies big and
small… with the pleasant side effect of pollinating most of the world’s flowering plants. I’d say
it’s a pretty sweet deal. Stay curious.


  • Reply Ryan the nightguard August 14, 2019 at 1:46 am

    Bees are so cool!

  • Reply Jesse Geworsky August 14, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    How do they establish the next queen be for another hive?

  • Reply druu jenkins August 14, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    So wait… if I'm buying honey, then am I supporting slave labor so that I can later consume some other material that a lot of other insects have consumed and vomited through each other? Because I thought I was just buying honey…

    JK about the slave labor stuff. I've seen bee keeper videos and they seem to love bees as much as normal people love dogs. But the fact that honey has been basically vomited countless times, passed through insects which have been flying who knows where, and is still safe to consume is quite strange. Nature be crazy.

  • Reply Plug 14 August 14, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Bee sick I'm never eating it again that's disgusting

  • Reply leanne napier August 17, 2019 at 6:33 am

    i love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Bryan Little August 17, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    No the male drones go to other hives

  • Reply Megan Jarchow August 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Great video. Keep it up!

  • Reply Ray Sarasin August 20, 2019 at 2:54 am

    thanks did not know this

  • Reply Califul Dance August 22, 2019 at 10:32 am

    It's okay to BEE smart

  • Reply Pratik Brahma August 22, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    So you're telling me I'm eating vomit with my toast? Sweet.

  • Reply Mark Arnott August 24, 2019 at 12:54 am


  • Reply VenlarMocha August 25, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I came here because of Minecraft's bee's

  • Reply Johnny S. August 25, 2019 at 5:11 am


  • Reply mrbear1302 August 25, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    So bee sputum……

  • Reply james August 26, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Massive fail and you know why. If you are really too stupid then I gotta I'll have to tell you! Keep honey bees out of any land they don't belong in! Especially North America and Scotland. Or lose your last food source

  • Reply Donald Pesavento Jr August 26, 2019 at 2:05 am

    Wow, I thought it was vomit but not vomited from bee to bee to bee.

  • Reply Black Spiderman August 26, 2019 at 12:53 pm


  • Reply XxKoolkidxX August 28, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Who doesn't want to touch honey anymore?

  • Reply Aspen A August 29, 2019 at 5:03 am

    I will never eat honey again
    5 seconds later mom comes in room with honey and toast

  • Reply Alex Daniel August 31, 2019 at 5:44 am

    Why are noble gases gases.

  • Reply Eltin Tand August 31, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Next time, when you consume honey, just remember, it was from a bee's stomach, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, regurgitated from a bee, and , regurgitated from a bee

  • Reply Nobody August 31, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    I wonder how long it took to find bee vomit is the best of all the vomits of the animal world…

  • Reply Mahayar Muttaqin September 1, 2019 at 6:02 am

  • Reply May the Science be with You September 1, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Now, how do they make the wax?

  • Reply Philippe SAIZ September 1, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I thought badger were making honney…

  • Reply Sop Lim September 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I have now been put off honey for ever

  • Reply Aerial Thingz September 1, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    wait so.. this whole time.. WE'VE BEEN EATING VOMIT?!

  • Reply Rickey Cao September 1, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    yeah the honey bees also kill off almost any insect that go near them yay extinction wooooooooo!!!!! goodbye the other 19999 bees species woooo isnt mass extinction great?

  • Reply Valencia Sanchez September 1, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    This made me feel bad for the bees. We over work them for our personal needs

  • Reply dschonsie September 3, 2019 at 4:04 am

    make? the fly to the next supermarket and buy it

  • Reply IAM SERIOUS September 3, 2019 at 10:19 am

    if i ever own a honey brand, i will name it "Honey Puke"

  • Reply T1r3d 4rt1st ใƒ„ Green September 3, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Well Then. I Can Only Say A..


  • Reply Kenna Kue September 3, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    So…Iโ€™ve been eating honey- I mean barf?

  • Reply bobjobjoe September 5, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Thrn how is royal jelly and bee bread made?

  • Reply gitadine September 5, 2019 at 6:22 am

    You're telling me I eat bee barf every morning

  • Reply Demon Gacha September 5, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Itโ€™s amazing that without bees we could not survive and bottled clear honey that you buy from the store is not real honey. My grandpa has a friend who owns bee hives and itโ€™s opaque

  • Reply cookiedoodle02 September 6, 2019 at 10:36 am

    2:40 i remember this in phinyas and berp

  • Reply MeshMN September 6, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    ok…. ruined honey for me for the rest of my life – not sure that it IS ok to be smart – I was happier being dumb.

  • Reply Forever Loving September 7, 2019 at 2:11 am

    Woooow God is a genius.

  • Reply PrumSet September 7, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Who else likes to eat these Hexagon things in the honey instead of just the pure honey? ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply Marcus hungidas September 7, 2019 at 7:32 am

    So does that mean when I eat honey I eat bee saliva

  • Reply Nedews September 7, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    but WHY bees make honey?

  • Reply Fiskeben September 9, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Vikings also consumed a lot of mead throughout their time, even the kids drank it. Some mean it gave that a very good antibiotic system

  • Reply guinea.pig.luver. 138 September 10, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Gosh, I never knew that bee vomit tasted so good! ๐Ÿ˜‹

  • Reply -- September 10, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Queens do not fly to other hives to mate. They fly up to 5km for one or multiple days at special land points. At those points also drones will be, if hatched by surrounding hives.

  • Reply Anthony Vitera September 11, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Gotta say on the list of impressive things. All bees in the world flying the equal to 3 times around the world, doesn't actually sound that impressive.

  • Reply shahramashrat September 11, 2019 at 9:13 am

    God is the greatest

  • Reply Arctic Fox Gaming September 11, 2019 at 10:17 am

    I would like to know the backstory of who discovered honey. One person just looked at a beehive and thought "Those buzzing creatures are up to something. I have a feeling they're hiding something delicious in there".

  • Reply Awesome Ness September 11, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Hey dude do you want bee throw up on your bread?

  • Reply FailGirlGamer September 11, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Ewww I am not eating bee barf again D:

  • Reply Jason Theobald September 11, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Hmmm I wonder what we could make if we perform the same technique but with other foods… like say jello or steak? Anyone wanna try with me?

  • Reply Kaleb Lathrom September 11, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    hate to say it but you were wrong. Queen Honey Bees dont go to other hives to mate, they go to swarms that form in the air

  • Reply Morfo1010 September 12, 2019 at 5:08 am

    But why do they store the final product and seal it? Do they produce a lot of surplus of honey so they can share it with us?

  • Reply Star Ranario September 12, 2019 at 9:07 am

    !!!!!!F!e!M!i!N!i!S!t! I!n!T!e!N!s!I!f!I!e!S!!!!

  • Reply hari om September 12, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    respect for the bees โค๏ธ

  • Reply Rudy Clark September 13, 2019 at 11:01 am

    0.75 is the correct playback speed to give yourself a chance to comprehend the information

  • Reply ILLEGAL MEMES September 13, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    So were eating a vomit.

  • Reply Maddie Anne September 13, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    For any vegans/people who donโ€™t want to eat honey anymore, Imitation honey tastes the same โค๏ธ

  • Reply DJ_in_da_house September 15, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Ive been loving and consuming bee vomit this entire time…

  • Reply Keet Randling September 16, 2019 at 1:55 am

    ok i USED TO eat honey…

  • Reply ZAZA PUPPIES September 16, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Good job ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • Reply ZAZA PUPPIES September 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm


  • Reply ZAZA PUPPIES September 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Pooooooooooooooooooo like if you need to pooo

  • Reply Yo DaD September 17, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    I Can Put A key Into A Plug And Do That Dance.

  • Reply Star-Lord Peter Quill September 19, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    This video is amazing

  • Reply John Kidtv September 20, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Wow I learned a lot of stuff here great vid

  • Reply will voudaville September 20, 2019 at 7:27 pm


  • Reply Lando Polaroid September 20, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Human centipede 3: Human bee-hive.

  • Reply So Cal Bee Guy September 21, 2019 at 5:49 am

    Queens do not fly to another hive and mate, they go on a mating flight and all drones in the area chase her like a comet until one mates with her in the air. His package breaks off inside her and he dies, the father of the next generation.

  • Reply VAS2k03 September 21, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Goi it! Queen bee's a filthy fuckin' whore with severe mental issues.

  • Reply LeMonteur, Dรฉsanuseur September 22, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    This is truly fascinating. The bee dance to notify the food location is what amazes me the most

  • Reply Terri M September 23, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Lol all I can think is, wow the queen is a hoe

  • Reply Maulik Bagada September 23, 2019 at 10:05 am

    So honey is basically a puke… Huh… Nice one

  • Reply bluebanana September 23, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Weโ€™ve put all the honey in the same basket. We need to rely more than one species as pollinators.

  • Reply Kimberly Lopez September 24, 2019 at 5:10 am

    so…Iโ€™ve been eating
    BEE VOMIT!?!?!?!!??!!??!???

  • Reply Nate Hladki September 24, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Honey: Nature's tastiest vomit

  • Reply ShamrockAirsoft September 24, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Not gonna lie I really want those eyeglasses heโ€™s wearing

  • Reply Shantelle Shand September 25, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Whelp i dont want to eat honey anymore aka bee vomit ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ

  • Reply Mahima Romanoffsallymw September 25, 2019 at 11:50 am

    It's vomit. Learned in school when I was 5๐Ÿ˜

  • Reply Bikram Mondal September 26, 2019 at 3:00 am

    Wonderful! How laborious are those little bees indeed! Awesome!

  • Reply asma c September 26, 2019 at 11:55 am

    [Quran 16.68-69] And your Lord (Allah) revealed to the bees: Build your hives in mountains, trees and in what they build. Then eat (for females) from every fruit and follow (for females) your Lord's enslaved paths, from its bellies (ุจูุทููˆู†ูู‡ูŽุง) exits drink of different colors, in it healing for man. These are signs for those who contemplate.

  • Reply Klaus Klaus Klaus September 26, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Such a sweet and Delicious puke.

  • Reply 2.5 Billion Christians September 28, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Ewwww glad I donโ€™t eat honey

  • Reply STACKED_Studios September 29, 2019 at 1:52 am

    Say what you want man, this stuff is delicious

  • Reply MBobLamy September 29, 2019 at 9:38 am

    How does the sky polarise light:

  • Reply Honey In Capsules October 1, 2019 at 1:14 am

    This is very true!! For more info check out…@t

  • Reply Andreas Wang October 3, 2019 at 3:46 am

    When people are told that bird nest soup come from bird's vomit, they suddenly feel disgusted. But what if I tell you that honey is also vomit.

  • Reply NYJ504 October 4, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    So everyoneโ€™s ok eating a creatures spit-vomit, that it also mates in and uses the restroom in? Sounds to me like the devil sinned against nature, and you all enjoy the taste!

  • Reply Aaron Hall October 4, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    so the queen a big hoe

  • Reply Chloe Orr October 5, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Did you know that thereโ€™s over 100,000 types of bees? A lot of bees and plants have evolved together to be codependent upon each other particularly certain veggies and flowers. So basically if one goes, the other goes too

  • Reply David Coley Art October 7, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    O. o

  • Reply Avi Mor October 7, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    This was a really cool and educational video
    Thank You ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply JUDGMENT DAY IS COMING SOON October 8, 2019 at 6:40 am

    God is great โค๏ธ

  • Reply Jacob Durand October 9, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    How do they decide which larvae become queens?

  • Reply AnniBear _ October 10, 2019 at 10:20 am

    If honey last thousands of years doesnโ€™t that mean we canโ€™t digest honey?

  • Reply Johny Corporations October 10, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    yey for bees!
    hornets and wasps suc they dont do anything
    plus they can sting you twice so screw hornets and wasps
    leave a like if u agree if not tell me in the coments what wasps and hornets are good for

  • Reply Mark S Stephenson October 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm


  • Reply willi pine October 11, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Okk so we sent rocket to the moon,, can we replicate bee enzyme and turn regular sweets to honey? We would out produced our fellow six legged friends

  • Reply r p October 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Bees make honey and jelly. Why don't humans make anything that tastes good?

  • Reply Marvel Manua October 14, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    3:09 nice dance

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