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The Nectar Collecting Bee!

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Meet the Nectar Collecting Bee!

The Collector Bees also collect nectar from the flowers, which they use to make honey (of course!). Flower Nectar is produced by secretory glands in the flowers called nectaries. Flower nectar is mainly composed of water with high concentrations of sugars--mainly sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Nectar also contains small amounts of amino acids, organic acids, proteins, lipids, antioxidants, minerals and enzymes. Bees suck nectar from flowers with their long tube-shaped tongues, or proboscis. In the process, the bees will be covered with pollen, which it will spread from flower to flower as it makes its rounds. A bee will visit only flowers of the same species on each round of gathering. This assures that the nectar gathered is all from a single source. It also ensures that the pollen which is spread from flower to flower pollinates the correct species.

Bees store the nectar in a cavity called the Honey Stomach. When the collector bee gets back to the hive it will mingle with the workers on the comb of the hive. If the nectar source is abundant and of high quality, she will be excited and dance to communicate the location of the good fortune. The bee will then walk around until she finds a house bee, to whom she will regurgitate the nectar and offer the nectar to the house bee from her mouth. The house bee will receive the nectar by extending her tongue to suck up the drops from the mouth of the gatherer. The house bee will then deposit the nectar into a open honey comb for storage. The cell will not be sealed until the nectar has evaporated enough to form thick ripe honey. The change from nectar to ripe honey takes place gradually over a period of several days. Meanwhile, the gatherer will clean herself off, eat some honey for energy, and be off for another round of gathering.