What do bees eat? Nectar, right? Well… that’s not all. They’ll gobble up a lot more than you might think!
Bees love sugar. Though their primary source of it may be nectar, they also love to get into fallen fruit:
I took that photo when I was at Taylor Gardens Nursery the other day. She’s sipping away at the juice seeping from a fallen muscadine grape.
Bees are amazing little creatures. I think if we knew all the weird stuff that went into our honey, we might be shocked…
Here’s another shot of this little sugar fiend:
SIDE NOTE: My new-ish camera has a nice close-up mode that I’ve been using to good effect snapping pictures of insects. The bee in the photos let me get nice and close and I’m happy to see the autofocus worked well.
I’ve had issues with close-up shots on some previous cameras. I remember one day when I was trying to photograph aphids on a willow tree. I took something like 30 shots and most of them were blurry. The autofocus was wildly zipping in and out and there was no manual override. The perils of trusting a shot to a computer chip…
When I lived in Tennessee, I noticed that my honeybees also greatly enjoyed the fallen pears from my pear trees. Anyone that got split or damaged attracted bees – they’d eat off those pears all day long.
Now… back to bees.
If you have bees, you’re probably beyond being surprised at what they’ll eat. They’ll go after candy, soda, lemonade, fermenting fruit and all kinds of weird stuff. If it’s sweet, the bees will go for it.
When I was a kid, one year Dad and Mom took us on a long summer vacation all the way from Florida into North Carolina and then on into Virginia and deep into Upstate New York where my great-grandparents lived. One afternoon while passing through Virginia, we stopped for a picnic on the grass. Mom made sandwiches and Dad was drinking a Mountain Dew from a can (I remember that back then he drink Mountain Dew or Mello Yello when we were on vacation – and only when we were on vacation. The rest of the year I don’t think he drank any soda at all) when he noticed a little bee buzzing interestedly around the rim of the can and pointed it out to us kids. The little worker kept buzzing around so Dad shooed it off. A few minutes later he must have quit paying attention, because he took a swig of his soda and suddenly spat it in an explosion across the grass.
“The bee was in there! I almost swallowed the bee!”
Childhood Lesson Learned: Bees Like Mountain Dew
Yep. They’ll also steal your watermelon, nibble your candy, rob honey from a honey bear and lick up spilled juice.
If it has sugar in it, bees will probably eat it.
On a related note, I’m currently co-writing a new book on southern beekeeping along with my friend Allen the Beekeeper. Unlike keeping bees up north, beekeeping in the south is a whole different ballgame and Allen knows his stuff. As for me, I’m learning as we write. He’s the expert… I’m just the wordsmith.
I’ll keep you posted – we’re about a quarter of the way done with the book and it’s shaping up nicely.
For now, here are two videos Allan and I recorded together on beekeeping: