Beehives consist of a single queen, workers and drone bees. The workers are the only ones that leave the hive to gather nectar. The average worker lives five to six weeks and will spend roughly the first three to 10 days of its life in the hive and the rest of the time procuring nectar.
In production beehives, there are several flat wooden frames containing comb where honey is actually stored. The bee will work the field, bring the nectar back to the hive, place it in the comb, and then cover it with wax. These frames are removed by the beekeeper, the wax is removed, and the honey is typically poured into a 55-gallon drum. Once the drum is filled, the beekeeper ships it to a packer/producer.
The packer or beekeeper will grade the honey based on color and flavor profiles. The flavor profile is determined by the nectar and where the hive has been placed. For example, beehives placed in orange groves will produce orange blossom honey, while beehives placed in alfalfa and clover fields traditionally produce a predominantly clover taste profile.
The packer/producer will melt down multiple drums (known as a production run) to liquefy the honey. This allows the packer to pump it and filter it through presses. Producers either strain and/or filter honey to remove impurities and foreign materials. The product is packed off in a variety of sizes based on the packer capabilities. Burleson's Honey packs off exclusively in plastic for consumer convenience.