Bees use nectar to make honey, which they get from clovers, dandelions, berry bushes, and fruit tree blossoms. Bees suck the nectar out of the flowers and then store it in their “honey stomachs”. Bees have two stomachs–a regular stomach as you would expect, and a stomach used for nectar storage. The honey stomach can hold about 70 mg of nectar. After the bees return to their hive, they pass their nectar onto the worker bees, which suck out the nectar from the honey stomach through their mouths, and then chew the nectar for about half an hour. While “chewing”, enzymes are breaking down the sugars in the nectar into simple sugars to aid in digestion and to reduce attack by bacteria. The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs in the hive, where water then evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees then seal off the honeycomb with wax, and the honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a bee colony consumes between 120 and 200 pounds of honey.
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