In the spring time, the nectar is more plentiful than at later times in the year. It is called "the nectar flow". Nectar flows can come at different time of the year, depending on what is blooming. Food begins to be available in my area around mid to late February when the Red Maples start to bloom. The bees do not store this nectar and pollen, but instead feed it to their young to increase the population of the hive after winter time. They are building up the population so that they will be ready to go out and get all the wonderful nectar that will be available during the "flow". Then there is a succession of wonderful trees and plants that produce a plethora or nectar and pollen. Some, of course, is used to continue the raising of more bees to keep the population high in the hive, but the excess is stored in the "Super". When this bounty of nectar is available, the honey bee takes advantage of every hour of the day. There are no naps for them!!
The Honey Bee Works Very Hard to Make Honey!!!!!
The honey bee visits a flower, collects the nectar in a special stomach and then brings the nectar into the hive and stores it in the cells of the super. The bees then fan the nectar and adds enzymes to the nectar. When the honey is complete, the bees then cap the honey cells off with wax. This "capping off" process preserves the honey. If it is not capped off, the honey will ferment. Capped Honey will last "forever" It has been found in tombs, thousands of years old. Honey will crystallize after time, but can be make liquid again by putting it in warm water (less than 110 degrees). If honey is exposed to higher temperatures, you will destroy the beneficial properties of the honey.
Honey has medicinal properties that even man does not understand yet. It is anti bacterial and anti fungal and is used for all types of human ailments. Raw honey is a natural source of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and even antioxidant-rich vitamin C. It also contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, and phosphate. It is so much more than just a sweetener!!
The process of extraction
In the process of harvesting some of the honey, the beekeeper must take this "super" off of the hive. There are many contraptions and inventions for the modern day beekeeper to use in the extraction of honey and all of the duties in the apiary, and extracting honey is no exception. There are methods for the beekeeper to get the bees out of the super safely, so that the honey can be extracted.
Once the supers are in a place where no bees can get to it, the process of extraction can begin. If you try to do this is a place where the bees can smell the honey, you will not be successful in the extraction process. Bees can smell honey from a long way away!! Some beekeepers have a "Honey House" made specifically for this process, but some of us just use our kitchen!