Bees are known to collect many things from the environment, including pollen and nectar. There are a few things that bees need that they must make from the raw ingredients. Instead of collecting honey and propolis, bees collect the necessary materials they need to make them. Bees spend a significant amount of their time seeking out and collecting raw materials to make the things they need, like propolis and bee bread, as well as some of our favorite things. Delicious, raw honey from a local beekeeper is hard to beat on a piece of toast or as a natural sweetener for a hot beverage. Propolis and bee bread are needed for a beehive's survival, so the process by which these essentials are made is all up to the bees.
Honey is Made, Not Collected by Bees
As honeybees collect pollen and nectar, they mix it with saliva and store it in their hind legs to get it safely back to the beehive. Using nature’s raw ingredients, bees process these ingredients to make honey. Nectar on its own has little flavor and is watery. As bees collect nectar from plants, it is not honey. Instead, honey is mainly made from glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Nectar contains vitamins and minerals that vary from plant to plant, and those varieties help create a range of honey, but bee enzymes are required to convert nectar to honey.
There is one exception to the "made, not collected" statement about bees and honey. There are honey thieves, and they rob other beehives of their honey.
Propolis is Made, Not Collected
Bees make propolis by using collected plant resin and adding saliva and enzymes to make the substance. Bees use manufactured propolis to seal and protect the beehive entrances and cracks to keep diseases at bay, but also as a weather sealant. Propolis is a necessity for a colony's survival year to year.
Bees Collect Raw Ingredients to Make Bee Bread for Brooding and Storage
Pollen is difficult for bees to digest, so bees must use lactic acid and enzymes to ferment the pollen. Fermentation softens pollen coatings, making it easier to digest. Pollen also has a short shelf life and loses nutritional value unless it is processed within a day or two. In order to make pollen last longer, bees make bee bread.
Bees knead pollen, enzymes, and honey together to remove any air in the mixture. Bee bread extends the amount of time that pollen can be stored and used. Nutrients in bee bread allow bees to use it throughout harsh winters and even into the spring months. Brood rearing requires plentiful bee bread for the queen to lay her eggs and young larvae to consume. Baby bees need a variety of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. As with humans, babies require richer nutrients than adults. Pollen also provides bees with good bacteria that aid in their digestive health.
Bee bread is responsible for keeping many beehives alive throughout the year. These little pellets are placed into the cells, and once the cells are full, they are lavishly covered with a layer of honey to preserve the bee bread further. It is fascinating that bees create this extended shelf-life pollen source that keeps them alive. Without plenty of pollen, bee colonies would not be able to survive.
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The Beekeeper’s Role
One of the roles of the beekeeper in all this manufacturing of the bees is keeping the frames clean. Once bee bread pellets are dry, they can mostly be tapped out by firmly banging the frame. In many cases, the frame may be reusable. The beekeeper's role goes beyond cleaning out old bee bread, though. Beekeepers understand the critical role bees play in the environment and how their survival means our survival. Many beekeepers take in bees that need to be removed from a location and are always ready to step in and help with bee concerns. The beekeeper's role is to care for their bees, raise awareness about these essential pollinators, and provide guidance when it comes to humane and live bee removal.
Bees should never be forcefully removed or killed as a mitigation effort. If you have a bee concern, work with a local bee removal company that uses humane tactics, has professional equipment, is experienced in a range of beehive removals, and has relationships with beekeepers in the area, so successful relocation happens. D-Tek Bee Removal is a full-service, humane live bee removal company owned and operated by a beekeeper. The bee technicians do a thorough job assessing beehive placement and are equipped to do removals successfully. They also perform any repair work necessary when a beehive is found inside the home.
Contact D-Tek at 760-224-3040 today for a comprehensive bee assessment and free quote.