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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,960

    Post

    How do bees process honey between the flower and depositing it in a cell? Do they "swallow" it? Does it go into a "stomach"? Do they "digest" it? Do they mix it with "spit"?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Mosquero, NM
    Posts
    47

    Post

    They suck up the plant nectar through their long hollow tongues (which is part of why they're called Apis mellifera linguistica) and into their honey stomach, where their body adds some special enzymes to it and begin the process of converting the plant sugars into honey. Back at the hive, they usually transfer it to a house bee, once again using their long tongues -- really, anatomically, bees can neith "swallow" nor "spit" -- and the house bee (or bees) begin a process of pushing out some of the very thin nectar to the edge of their probiscus and opening the proboscis outward to aerate and dry the honey, concentrating it in a process not unlike pulling taffy. When the nectar has been chemically changed by added enzymes from the bees' bodies, and its water content greatly reduced, they deposit it into comb cells and it is further "cured" by air motion in the hive. When it is finally to the stage of "cured" honey, the bees seal the comb cell with a beeswax cap.

    Learn more from Dadant's "The Hive and the Honeybee" or AI Root's "The ABC - XYZ of Beekeeping"......the "beekeeper's bibles".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Post

    They swallow it into their crop or "honey stomach". It's not their digestive track. They add enzymes to it that convert sucrose into fructose and glucose. Apparently there are other enzymes that cause some of the anti micorbial properties of honey. I suppose those enzymes could be described as some kind of digestive jucies since they change the sugar. Our "spit" has digestive enzymes in it. So does that qualify the bee's digestive enzymes to be called "spit"? Bees can actually filter small particles out of the nectar in their crop. That's how they clean up moldy and dirty syrup as well as the dust that blows from the road onto the flowers they are working.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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