What Do Bees Eat? Some Surprising Facts

what do bees eat

Bees are interesting insects as they work together systematically, either to build a hive or look for food. So, what do bees eat? You only know that they make honey, don’t you?

These buzzing creatures are categorized into three kinds. They are drones, workers, and the queen. Despite the difference, they are likely to eat the same food and live in the same hive.

Each of these kinds has a specialized task to do in the colony. Well, this article will discuss more of their food and some related facts. Also, it’ll talk about how they feed larvae before entering an adult stage.

Adult Bees and Their Foods

Adult Bees and Their Foods

Lots of people have already known that bees, especially honeybees, collect and eat nectar. It is the sweet fluid contained in floras. Once they amass it, they would turn it into honey. This becomes their prime diet.

Here is a fact. There is a larva that is chosen to become a queen in the future. Instead of eating honey, this one will eat royal jelly. This substance is quite nutritious!

Royal jelly is a premium food for bees. It is meant for queens only. This white secretion is created by female worker bees, usually the young ones.

Aside from nectar and honey, they are attracted to other sweet substances including sugar. Any liquid sweets can be alternatives, too. No wonder they often annoy those who do a picnic in gardens.

It is because they would buzz around soft drinks, sweet fruit, ice creams, and others. Even though they are rarely aggressive, they would sting when cornered.

Despite their interest in sweet treats, their prime food will be always either nectar or pollen. These become their sources of food, including feed their babies or larvae.

Some bees, especially worker bees, don’t leave their hive. They depend on stored nectar and drink from it. There is a special storage container in the hive. 

What Do Bee Larvae Eat?

What Do Bee Larvae Eat

The question is whether or not babies or larvae eat the same food as adult bees. Well, adults would dilute the honey with water to feed these. They also use it to cool the nest during the hot season.

To provide enough nutrients to larvae, bees would mix pollen with nectar! This mixture contains high protein and is good for immature bees. This is called the beebread.

For the information, the queen can lay lots of eggs! These would hatch and turn into larva. Some specialized bees, the nurse bees, feed these with highly nutritious food called royal jelly at the beginning.

Later, they feed the larvae with pollen. Lastly, at the next stage, their suitable food is none other than honey. It will be mixed with other substances first, though.

Gathering Nectar and Pollen

Gathering Nectar and Pollen

It is also important to know how bees collect pollen and nectar. So, how do they know which plants to take food from? Simply said, they depend on their vision ability to find those flowers. Their sense is excellent.

Flowers with colorful petals indeed attract bees. Unlike humans, they can see shiny ultraviolet patches of those floras. These are called nectar guides. These guide bees to reach the flowers properly.

Pollen has either yellow or green color. The texture is similar to powder, and it can be sticky, too. Despite this obstacle, bees can collect pollen easily due to the existence of setae or body hairs.

When walking inside flowers, pollen will stick on those hairs! Next, they move it to their hind legs. After getting back to the hive, they store it in a special container.

Bees Hunting Method

Bees Hunting Method

It is true they rely on their vision to locate flowers. But still, they have other methods to hunt for food! For example, they take advantage of the sun to navigate, either during cloudy or sunny days.

Here is an interesting fact. They may perform a special dance to communicate with others. The purpose is to give directions to food sources. This way, fellow bees can find the location easily.

There is a special case, though. When they cannot find good food sources, they use a bad method to hunt foods: raiding other bees’ hive. Their target is weaker colonies.

Each hive has guard bees, but they aren’t the same when it comes to defending quality. Better colonies indeed have better stinging ability, and they guard the hive entrance tightly.

On the other hand, weak colonies can be raid easily. There is a special family that often raids others. They are called Africanized honey bees. During famine drought periods, they tend to do so.

Verdict

Bees are known as hard workers and they are considered intelligent. So, what do bees eat? Their major food is nectar or pollen. They turn these into honey and royal jelly,                        which is the queen’s food.

During cold seasons, bees can live longer and work harder. On the other hand, they won’t live for more than six weeks. When the food is scarce, they may raid hives, moreover!

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