Yes bees cook! But not in the traditional, roasting in an oven or on a stove top type of way...
Bees cook like we make cheeses, yoghurts or sauerkrauts. Bees are Master Chef worthy when it comes to packing the most nutrients into the smallest packages and making sure those nutrients don’t spoil so they can eat it later on. The changes bees make to nectar and pollen also make them easier to digest. Something we’ve learned to do too. The bees add invertase which starts the pre-digesting of the sugar. The bees also add glucose oxidase which is an enzyme that stops fermentation and produces antimocrobial hydrogen peroxide in honey
The cooking happens inside the bee hive. The forager bee who collects the nectar from the flowers passes it on to the processing bees. The processing bees use their honey sac and their wings to convert and dehydrate the honey. Once the honey is ripe (meaning it has less than 20% moisture) the cells are filled up completely and capped off. This means they are made airtight with beeswax lids on the hexagonal honeycomb chambers. This stops fermentation of the honey that is toxic to bees.
Romy Surtees works with Glenn Pattinson at Elixir Honey, the rural Western Australian good honey business that helps to keep busy people healthy & energised.