How Bees Make Honey

Part of "Birds & Bees"

We rarely think about the time and effort that goes into the production of real honey. This Course segment shows you the remarkable process of bees making honey and the beekeeper's post-harvest processes. This segment also includes an animated version of honeymaking process so that the whole family, including the keiki, can learn together.  

As you watch the videos, here are some other interesting facts about bees:

  • Not all bees make honey. In fact, there are relatively few species of honey bees, with most of bees being solitary bees.

  • Honey bees make as much honey as they can during the warmer months so that they can support the colony in the “offseason.” In Hawai‘i it is possible to harvest honey all year round (however, leaving some honey for the bees is still the correct process no matter where you live.)

  • Honey is also the food for young developing bees. 

  • Worker bees make only about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in their short lifetimes. They usually live for about six weeks.

  • On average, a honey bee will visit 100 flowers during one foraging trip.

  • A large honey bee can eat 100-200 pounds of honey during a year.

  • Honey bees can travel a 4- to 5-mile radius foraging for pollen and nectar.

  • To make just one pound of honey, honey bees can potentially travel a total 55,000 miles.

To begin this Course segment, go to the video link to watch bees making honey, then move on to the other Useful Links.

Useful Links:
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PBS short video explaining how bees make honey, with amazing footage.

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A cartoon showing how bees make honey. For keiki, but also instructive for adults.

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How larger honey producers harvest and process honey and beeswax.

> Back to Course 5: Birds & Bees