Apparently, Teddiursa is a very sticky pokémon. According to the pokédex, it is always soaked in honey. More than that, apparently Teddiursa is capable of making its own honey. Teddiursa is very clearly not a bee, so how does this happen?
If we want to understand how Teddiursa makes honey, we should first learn how bees make honey! The honey process starts at a flower: bees fly around and gather pollen and nectar, which are important resources for the hive (and, of course, they also aid in the flower’s reproduction). Flower nectar is essentially sugar water: It’s made of sucrose mixed with water. Bees “collect” the nectar by sucking it up with their tube like tongue called a proboscis (see Beautifly), and storing it in a second stomach especially for honey.
This is were the magic happens. Stomachs, ours included, are full of chemical compounds called enzymes which allows us to break down, digest, and get nutrients out of food. Bees have a special enzyme, called invertase, that they produce in their stomach. This enzyme takes the sucrose in nectar, and breaks it up into smaller sugars like fructose and glucose. Their stomachs will break down over 95% of the sucrose.
After the nectar has been digested this way, the bees do something kind of strange. They regurgitate the honey onto the walls of the hive. They do this so it can dry out, and the water can evaporate so it becomes the thick, sticky honey that we all know and love. Once the nectar contains less than 20% water, the bees will seal it in wax like a ziploc bag and store it away as a food source for the rest of the year. Making honey is a bee’s equivalent of canning food: to keep it fresh and preserve it for long periods of time.
The stereotype that bears love honey is actually true: they are attracted to beehives and raid them often. Most bears don’t go for the honey, though. Bees are a great source of protein and easy to eat. Bee larvae, in particular, is very high in fat and protein which is super nutritious for bears. The honey is just a sweet bonus.
Most “artificial” honey sold in stores is just sugary corn syrup with flavorings and added colors. It is fairly easy to synthesize real honey though, even if you’re not a bee. As long as you have access to the enzyme invertase, you can take nectar and break it down into fructose and glucose, and then evaporate the water out to form honey. The hardest part about the process is gathering the nectar. Individual bees carry about 40 milligrams of nectar at a time, and flowers don’t contain that much to begin with.
So is it feasible that Teddiursa can produce its own honey? Possibly. And the pokédex might tell us exactly how: Teddiursa, being a bear, is covered in fur. Like you see in many bees, a good fuzz is extra effective in picking up pollen and nectar from plants. So Teddiursa might somehow make the honey in its own pelt, by excreting invertase through its skin like sweat, so the pollen and nectar that gets collected on its fur can digest and be converted into honey. Perhaps it even gets the invertase from all the bees it eats! This also explains why Teddiursa is seemingly always covered in honey, even if you just gave it a bath. And if you see it rolling around in your garden, it’s just gathering up more pollen and nectar for its honey.
Teddiursa makes its own honey by collecting flowers’ nectar in its fur. It’s skin secretes the enzyme invertase, which digests the nectar, and once the water is evaporated out, turns it into honey.
Last thing worth mentioning– the first line of Teddiursa’s pokédex entry. It says that Teddiursa’s crescent pattern glows when it finds honey! We’ve done several entries about bioluminescence before (Watchog, Starmie, Lanturn), but I thought I would mention that bioluminescence in those animals is commonly used as a form of communication! So when a Teddiursa finds a delicious Combee hive, it lights up to say “hey friends, there’s honey over here!”