Honeybees + humans use the same food technologies.
When humans have a surplus of fruit we make jam-- we stew the fruit to reduce the water content and increase the sugar content, and we store it in an airtight container with a lid. Bees preserve nectar in a similar way: they reduce the water content to below about 18%, increase the sugar content and also store it in an airtight container (a honeycomb cell with a wax cap).
Honey is nectar jam, made by bees. Everyone knows bees make honey but did you know they also ferment food?
We have made a sourdough starter using microbes from inside the All Are Welcome beehive.
Bees, like humans, use fermentation to control the rate of decay for food. A beehive is warm and humid inside and pollen-- a food bees need to raise their young, or brood-- would spoil inside a beehive in its raw state. To stabilise this pollen the bees ferment it. Beekeepers call this product ‘bee bread’. Bee bread is pollen that honeybees collect in the field and activate with saliva, gut enzymes, honey, wild yeasts and yeasts found in the hive.
Amazingly, bees use the same fermentation to make ‘bee bread’ as we use to make a ‘human bread’ sourdough starter: a lactic acid ferment!