Douglas Farm

NJ Honey and Bees

How is Honey Made??

     Honeybees use nectar to make honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. In fact, if you have ever pulled a honeysuckle blossom out of its stem, nectar is the clear liquid that drops from the end of the blossom. In North America, bees get nectar from flowers like clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms. 

     They use their long, tube like tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honey stomachs.

     The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. These "house bees" "chew" the nectar for about half an hour. During this time, enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive. 

     The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey.

Making Raw Honey Vs. Making Granulated White Sugar

Making honey

1. Bees collect nectar from flowers

a. Pollinating as they fly
2. Bees condense nectar to honey in the hive
3. Beekeepers spin out honey from comb
4. Honey is lightly filtered through a screen mesh to remove unwanted debris
5. Honey is bottled for storage and sale.

No pollution is made if bottle is recycled / reused

Making granulated white sugar (source:

1. Sugarcane is transported to a mill
2. Sugarcane is washed, chopped and shredded
3. Juice is collected and mixed with lime
3. The lime and juice are clarified
4. The mixture is concentrated under a vacuum
5. The mixture is seeded with crystalline sugar and cooled
6. A centrifuge separates sugar crystals from the liquid
7. The crystals are then transported to a refinery
8. The crystals are mmixed with heavy syrup, and cleaned.
9. The solution is clarified by the addition of phosphoric acid and Calcium Hydroxide
10. Calcium phosphate precipitates out of the solution
11. Then filtered through a bed of active carbon or bone char
12. The solution is then concentrated under a vacuum
13. Sugar crystals are recovered from the processed solution
14. Sugar is dried in a hot rotary dry for several days
15. Sugar is packed for shipping
Pollution Comes from
1. Transporting to the mill, to the refinery and to your local store
2. Making clean water for crop irrigartion, plus washing and filtering
3. Machinery used in the milling and refining
4. Harvesting lime, phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide from other locations
5. Chemical by products of processing

6. Packaging waste

Top 5 producers of granulated sugar: Brazil, India, China, Thailand and Pakistan.

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