Honey Is Not Bee Vomit

Oct 6, 2014

For years, uninformed folks have declared that honey is "bee vomit."

It's not.

These things are inequitably false.

1. The world is flat.

2. Einstein said that "if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left."

3. Honey is bee vomit.

Yet people gleefully insist that honey is bee vomit. Why do they say that? Who knows? To make people stop eating it? To deter them from consuming honey as they eagerly spread it on their waffles, toast or English muffin? To make fun of people who love honey, a wonderful treat that's sometimes called "the soul of a field of flowers?" Sensational or junk "news," the kind that tabloids print without checking?

Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who retired this June after 38 years of service, says: "I make the distinction between honey bee regurgitation and mammalian vomit based on the fact that the nectar and honey being processed by the bees never have direct contact with food being processed, or expected to be processed, 'digestively' as is the food in a mammalian stomach." 

"Although many sources refer to the honey bee crop as the 'honey stomach,' it is not a place where consumed foods are being digested in honey bees."

In their book, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, authors Dewey Caron and Lawrence John "Larry" Connor define the honey stomach as a a "honey sac."

It's "an enlargement of the posterior end of the esophagus in the bee abdomen in which the bee carries the nectar from flower to hive."

Bee vomit? No way. It's where nectar is stored. It's not a stomach as we know it.