Firstly, worker bees fly out from the hive in search of nectar-rich flowers. Using its straw-like proboscis, a worker bee drinks the liquid nectar and stores it in a special stomach called the honey stomach. The bee continues to forage, visiting hundreds of flowers, until its honey stomach is full. Within the honey stomach, enzymes break down the complex sugars of the nectar into simpler sugars, which are less prone to crystallization. This process is called inversion. With a full belly, the worker bee heads back to the hive.
Once back in the hive, the worker bee then regurgitates the already modified nectar for one of the hive bees. The hive bee ingests the sugary offering and further breaks down the sugars. It then regurgitates the inverted nectar into a cell of the honeycomb. The hive bees then beat their wings furiously, fanning the nectar to evaporate its remaining water content. As the water evaporates, the sugars thicken into honey. Once the honey is finished, the hive bee caps the beeswax cell, sealing the honey into the honeycomb for later consumption.
A single worker bee produces only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. Working cooperatively, thousands of worker bees can produce over 200 pounds of honey for the colony within a year.