They are the tireless workers of the animal kingdom. They slave away producing one of the sweetest and delicious golden nectars known to man. We are of course talking about bees. The honey that they produce is delicious, and very healthy. But how many of you have ever put thought into how difficult the produce is to produce? They are only a very small insect, so the monumental task of honey production would be akin to us humans harvesting a one hundred acre crop with nothing but our hands. So my question is, roughly how many bee trips are needed to make honey?
To work this question out we need to be able to determine the average return distance to their flowers, which is about 3 kilometers on average. Next we need to know how much of the pollen that they collect will become honey. Using some mathematics, each trip will yield 17 mg of honey, which is not very much. So what does this mean?
One teaspoon of honey weighs 7.08 grams. Each trip produces 17 mg of honey. Using our mathematics again we can determine that one bee needs to make 416 trips to produce one teaspoon of honey. This means that they will have to travel about 1,248 kilometers to produce that single teaspoon of honey.
Now we can expand those numbers further into more commonly used units of measurement. 80,000 kilometers (50,000 miles) will deliver only one pound of honey. That is a real long distance, and a lot of work, even if when every worker in the colony contributes. To put it into perspective. The distance traveled to make 1 kilogram of honey is about 4 times the circumference of the earth.
To make just one pound of honey they will need to visit 2,670,588 flowers.
So the next time you want to indulge yourself in a little honey, spare a thought for the workers, and how many bee trips it’s taken to make honey.