What do Bees Eat?

What do Bees Eat?

What do Bees Eat?

We are often asked What do Bees Eat? Put simply, bees eat honey, pollen and royal jelly but the diet of a honey bee is rather complex.
 
Developing larvae are fed royal jelly for the first few days of life, this royal diet is then
changed to bee bread, which is a mixture of honey and pollen.
Worker bees feed on bee bread throughout their life but in winter worker bees feed more
on honey rather than a mix of honey and pollen. This promotes longevity in the worker bees
and allows them to live 4-5 months through winter rather than the usual 6 weeks in
summer.
 
What do queen bees eat?
Interestingly queen bee development is directly affected by diet in the early stages of life.
Worker bee diet is shifted from royal jelly to bee bread (a mixture of honey and pollen),
whereas larvae destined to be a queen will be fed royal jelly continuously through
development, which results in genetic changes in the larvae leading to the queen bee traits
being expressed.
 
Do bees eat pollen?
Bees eat pollen, but as discussed above they eat a varied diet throughout the seasons.
Pollen is a vital source of amino acids for honey bees and is used to feed young larvae. Thus
for a colony to survive cold springs an early source of pollen is vital to help the bees build up
in numbers to replace the old winter bees.
 
How can I help save bees?
You can make a big difference to honey bees and other species of bee by providing vital
sources of honey and pollen. You can plant flowers and wildflower areas in your garden or
window box, lavender is a great bee friendly plant but there are so many more. Plant snow
drops and other early flowering plants to give bees that vital food source at the start of
spring.

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