The idea that honey is “bee vomit” is based on the fact that bees swallow and throw up nectar before it is converted into honey. Most individuals concur with this concept because vomit is a material that travels down their esophagus into a second stomach before being driven back up.
Anyone who equates honey with vomit (or throwing up) doesn’t have a thorough understanding of honey bees. Vomit is the term used to describe the unintentional oral discharge of stomach contents. When you learn more about the production process, it becomes clearer why honey does not meet the criteria to be labeled vomit.
Most people mistakenly believe that the “crop,” where the bees store their nectar, serves as a second stomach. Moreover, honey bees do not use ‘crop’ to digest food; instead, it is only used to store nectar.
How Honey Is Produced
Bees collect floral nectar with their tongues and deposit it in the “crop” as the first stage of honey production. In the crop, the nectar is converted to simple sugars, improving its suitability for long-term storage.
When the hunter bee arrives at its colony, the nectar is either transported directly into the crop of a processor bee or deposited in honey pots outside the colony where other bees can access it. The nectar is transferred from one bee to the next until it is inserted inside the honeycomb. Bees pump the nectar back up their throats through a tube when regurgitating it.
In actuality, a bee’s collected nectar never enters its digestive tract or intestines. The nectar is injected into a crop, which is briefly stored and combined with specialized enzymes. However, there is a one-way valve—sort of a check valve—between the crop and the bee’s digestive system. Some nectar can pass through this valve if the bee needs fuel, but once it has passed through, it cannot return. Nothing from the bee’s digestive system or colon can go back to the crop.
To extract all of the additional water from the nectar, bees work by spreading the honeycomb with their wings. The bees seal the comb using a substance released from their abdomen that solidifies into wax after the rest of the water has drained. Once the honey is packed, beekeepers can collect or preserve it for as long as possible to feed the bees throughout the chilly months.
Vomiting and Regurgitation
This is where the confusion about “is honey bee vomit” begins. According to numerous sources, the nectar is regurgitated and given to another bee. Regurgitation is a phrase that is frequently used to describe the human illness. (Relative to the word vomit.)
Bees do not regurgitate in the same manner that people do. In actuality, this is by no means a comparable circumstance. Regurgitation is described as a process where swallowed food is returned up to the mouth. On the other hand, vomiting is the forcible ejection of food from the stomach during an involuntary reaction. In reality, the honey stomach is not undergoing any digestion. There is no digested food that is delivered to the home worker bee.
Different nectar influence Honey Production
When choosing which flower to take nectar from, bees must make a critical choice. Bees who visit orange flowers will create different honey than bees who visit purple flowers because the honey’s color, taste, and fragrance vary based on the flowers where bees collected their nectar.
However, scientists have questioned how the viscosity of a flower’s nectar affects a bee’s ability to produce honey. The theory holds that bees may swallow and regurgitate nectar more quickly and easily if it is less thick (or less saturated with sugar).
Honey Is Not a Vomit.
Why is honey so crucial to bees? Why not just keep the plant nectar in storage? Nectar made of water would spoil. The bees’ labor of love would be destroyed during fermentation. Therefore, because honey contains little moisture, it doesn’t go bad. It is a great product for long-term bee and human storage.
Honey isn’t bee vomit. It is not insect waste or bee excrement. The nectar that the bees bring back to the hive never makes it into their stomachs. Vomiting has a pejorative perception that is not the greatest way to express the exact and complex steps that bees go through to make honey.