The receiver bee takes nectar from the forager bee and transfers it mouth to mouth to other bees, adding an enzyme called invertase (sucrase) in the process which breaks the sucrose in the nectar down into fructose and glucose, and dehydrating the liquid down to roughly 18-20% water. The nectar is now honey and the bees will deposit it into a cell and cap it with wax. Sometimes the bees will store the nectar in cells before drying it out. Unlike with pollen, each nectar/honey cell is filled only with honey or nectar collected from the same species of plant.
Forager bees collect nectar by sucking it up with their proboscis into their honey stomachs (crops), and bring it back to the hive. When a nectar forager returns to the hive with a honey stomach full of nectar, she signals other bees to receive that nectar and fills the receiver bee’s honey stomach via trophallaxis or the regurgitated exchange of liquid.
Nectar is a sugary liquid excreted from the nectary of flowers to attract pollinators. It is the main source of carbohydrates for bees and also may contain very small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.
More Information: https://honeybee.org.au/education/wonderful-world-of-honey/how-bees-make-honey/
Jen Haeger is a new master beekeeper and board member of A2B2.