The worker bees sip nectar from flowers with their proboscis, a straw-like tube that rolled up within the mouth and extended to sip nectar. They store this nectar in a special stomach called a “honey stomach.”
When the honey stomach is full, they return to the hive and disgorge the nectar into the honeycomb cells. The nectar is allowed to partially evaporate, and when it is sufficiently concentrated, the hive bees cap each honeycomb cell with wax to store the honey to provide a food source for them in winter.
An average hive will produce about 60 to 100 pounds of honey in a year. Since the bees only need about 25 pounds for their own food, the beekeeper can harvest the surplus.
The worker bees (which account for 98% of the colony in the hive) make honey using a complex procedure. There should be many worker bees in the hive since no honey bee can make honey without other family members. In short, flying bees collect nectar from flowers and store it in a honey crop (created specifically for storing honey) while they fly back to the hive. Arriving in the hive, they pass this nectar to the “chewing” bees. These bees collect nectar and chew it for 30 minutes. While they chew it, enzymes convert the nectar into a mixture that contains honey and water. Next, worker bees layout this mixture in combs, while others fan it with their wings so that the water evaporates and the honey thickens. When the cooking process is complete, other bees “seal” the honeycomb with wax to protect the honey.
Bees produce and store their products (honey, royal jelly, propolis, etc.) for themselves. They eat honey to survive in winter and other periods when there is no pollen. By collecting honey, beekeepers actually “steal” some of the bees’ emergency supply. However, if this is done wisely, then the bees will make more honey, replacing the one that people took and will continue their life cycle without any problems.