How do bees make manuka honey?

We all love honey, don’t we? But have you ever thought about the process that goes into making this liquid gold? Have you ever wondered how bees make manuka honey, which is known for its medicinal properties? Well, look no further as we delve deep into the world of bees and their intriguing ways in producing one of nature’s most unique and sought-after honey types.

What Makes Manuka Honey So Special?

Before we dive into the manufacturing process of manuka honey by these tiny little creatures called bees, let’s first understand what makes it so special. Unlike regular honey that has been harvested from different flowers and plants with varying levels of nutrients and enzymes present in them, manuka honey comes from a single plant species – The Manuka Tree (Leptospermum scoparium) found only in New Zealand.

This unique tree produces nectar that is rich in compounds such as methylglyoxal (MGO) and dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which gives manuka honey its potent antibacterial properties. And if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind away, these two rare compounds are converted to even more powerful anti-bacterial agents by bees during the production process!

Collecting Nectar

The journey starts with worker bees (Apoidea) collecting nectar from various flowers including those belonging to the Leptospermum scoparium plant family. These tiny warriors work tirelessly around their 5-6 week average lifespan gathering up nectar blopeds at every opportunity they get before heading back towards their hives where special enzymes start breaking down flower sugars immediately on contact (because who doesn’t like some sugar rush?).

Once they arrive at their hive after a long day on “nectar patrol,” they regurgitate this sugary goodness into ‘honeycomb cells’ using an organ called a crop, which is like an internal storage tank in their digestive system. And with that, the first phase of this complex process comes to a close – gathering the nectar!

Making Honey

Now that our little friends are back at their hive and have emptied out all their crop contents into honeycomb cells, it’s time for some heavy-lifting. The bees work together as a team by fanning their wings over these honeycomb cells to allow moisture evaporation from the stored nectar containing high-water content.

This reduces its water percentage from around 70% to below 20%, lowering freezing point and allowing better preservation (just like jerky) and gives rise to thicker syrup consistency known as “ripened” honey.

Next comes one of my favorite parts- topping off this sweet deliciousness! Bees top it off by sealing each cell with wax caps produced via glands found on the underside of worker bees’ abdomen (yes you read that right). These acts as natural covers enclosing sugar goodness inside each cell – however unfortunately not complimentary sandwich bags included (meant for ants if we would use regular pantry sugars).

After about four weeks or so, when sufficient levels of sugar concentration have been reached, drones start removing wax layers using mandibles (which are basically mouthparts) triggering juice dripping and other free food source anticipations among colony members since the self-indulgent bee responsible for filling that particular cell has passed away already.

Finally leaving us humans(me) rushing blindly on coop app trying not be late before bulk purchasing consumers get there first.

Manuka Honey processing stages Description
Collecting Nectar Apoidea workers collect nectar from Leptospermum scoparium plant family flowers
Storing Nectar Enzymes present within begin breaking down flower-produced-sugars immediately leading up towards entailing production phases
Evaporating Water Bees lay nectar into honeycomb which is then fanned over by other colony members overriding process for moisture evaporation until water vaporizes resulting in thick syrup
Sealing Honey Comb Wax ball(lots of mouth action included) sealing each cell mixed with incoming pollen tops the sweetness to maintain quality and stopping storage induced spoilage
Ripe/Liquid state reached After achieving sugar concentration comes
the wax removal. Bee-ready liquid gold


So there we have it folks, a brief insight into what goes into making manuka honey! It’s truly remarkable how these busy little bees work tirelessly in a seamless chain of activity that culminates in this sweet and healthy treat. So next time you indulge yourself with some manuka honey on toast or have scoops straight from the jar, take a moment to appreciate just how much effort went into producing that pint-sized piece of heaven.

Did You know?

Manukahoney: Properties And Benefits
-Physical wound healing equally as effective compared to conventional dressings under sterile conditions.
-Bactericidal properties against gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus MRSA & Streptococcus pyogenes
-Anti inflammatory benefits via anti-inflammatory cytokine response inhibitors.
-Rosacea Treatment Reducing swelling/inflammation & redness after topical application.

information obtained from Mayo clinic paid subscriptions however can be found at

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