In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long does it take for bees to make honey?”, discuss answers to other related questions like how to clean honey and how to keep raw honey from crystallizing.
How long does it take for bees to make honey?
It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for bees to make honey. Nowhere in the world is there anything to compare with the unbelievable efficiency of the industry of the honeybee that efficiently produces honey.
How bees make honey?
Bees need two different kinds of food. One is honey prepared from nectar, the sugary juice that collects in the flowers. The other comes from the anthers of flowers, which hold many small grains called pollen.
Most bees gather only pollen or nectar. As she sucks the nectar from the flower, it is stored in her special honey stomach prepared to be transferred to the honey-making bees in the hive. When her nectar sacs are full, the honeybee returns to the hive. Nectar is delivered to one of the indoor bees and is then passed mouth-to-mouth from bee to bee until its moisture content is reduced from about 70% to 20%. This changes the nectar into honey. Sometimes the nectar is stored at once in cells in the honeycomb before the mouth-to-mouth working because some evaporation is caused by the 32.5°C temperature inside the hive.
Lastly, the honey is placed in storage cells and capped with beeswax in readiness for the arrival of newborn baby bees. Pollen is mixed with nectar to make “bee bread” and is fed to the larvae.
How to clean honey?
Honey is a thick golden liquid that is produced by industrious bees. These bees produce honey by using the nectar of flowering plants and save that inside the beehive. This honey is then collected by extracting it from the honeycombs of the hive. The extracted honey is then poured over a nylon cloth or mesh to separate it from impurities like beeswax and dead bees. This is how honey is cleaned.
This honey is then further cleaned by pasteurization and filtration to be used and sell as regular honey. Pasteurization is a process that destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat. This helps extend the shelf life and makes it smoother. Filtration further removes impurities like debris and air bubbles so that the honey stays as a clear liquid for longer.
Filtration is the final step of cleaning honey. Once you have filtered the honey from a double-stage filter, it is ready to be stored in the jars.
Why does honey crystallize?
The crystallization of honey is due to a natural phenomenon in which honey is transformed from one physical state to another. In crystallization, honey is converted from a liquid to a semi-solid state.
Honey is majorly composed of sugars. Water is the minor component of honey. It is estimated that honey contains about 70% sugars and 20% water in general. The water carried thus does not dissolve all the sugars naturally.
As glucose is extracted from water and stays in crystalline form, it promotes crystal formation. The formation of crystals neither changes the essence of honey nor it is related to poor stage or sweetness. In substance, these crystals are indicators of the fact that the honey is of high quality and is not processed.
How to keep raw honey from crystallizing?
As crystallization is a natural phenomenon, so you can not stop it but you can try to slow down this process if necessary.
To slow down the process of crystallization, you can adopt the following measures:
- Try to use a glass jar or well-lidded bottle instead of a plastic jar to store honey. Glass jar will help you preserve the flavor as well as consistency of honey.
- Temperature plays a key role in the crystallization of honey. When stored in a cold environment, honey keeps its consistency better. The cold temperature below 10℃ is considered to be optimal to avoid crystallization.
- Freezing is best known to stop the process of crystallization. You can freeze honey in small aliquots and allow it to thaw at room temperature when you have to use it.
- Filtration is also a key player in slowing down the crystallization process. Filtration helps you remove certain particles from the honey that are considered to trigger the crystallization of honey.
- During bottling, if you keep honey at temperatures of about 40℃ to 71℃ will also help you slow down the crystallization process of honey.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does it take for bees to make honey?”, discussed answers to other related questions like how to clean honey and how to keep raw honey from crystallizing.