What Honey Bees Eat
Like humans, bees need a varied diet. This comes from a variety of plants and wildflowers, as well as some other surprising things.
Nectar & Pollen
As many of you likely know, bees travel from plant to plant, collecting nectar and pollen, whilst pollinating plants in the process. Honey bees actually consume both the nectar and pollen they collect. Nectar provides them with carbohydrates, while pollen supplies the protein they require. The nectar they gather, is used to create the delicious “H” word… honey!
Sometimes it can be easy to forget that honey bees don’t just create honey for us humans. A whole hive relies on their own supply of honey to eat. Thankfully for us, honey bees are so good at making honey, they tend to make much more than they’d ever be able to get through alone, so that’s where we come in. We carefully separate our honey bees’ spare honey to share with you all. That way it’s not just the bees benefiting from their honey, but also humans.
While the benefits of honey are vast for bees and humans alike, sometimes honey alone isn’t enough to satisfy some bees.
As the name suggests, royal jelly is only for royals. Bee larvae that have been chosen to be future queens, and, existing queen bees, are the only ones in the hive to be fed royal jelly. Royal jelly is a substance made from liquid secreted from the glands of certain bees. It’s thought that a diet rich in royal jelly is what allows queen honey bees to grow into their characteristically large size and shape.
For those not worthy of royal jelly, they’re quite partial to other sweet treats.
Have you ever noticed how bees seem to turn up, just as you’re enjoying some food and drink outdoors, on a summer’s day? Honey bees are very attracted to anything sweet, but sweet liquid in particular.
There’s no need to stick to water when you’re dining al fresco though. Honey bees are very unlikely to sting you while they’re enjoying a sip of your drink. They’ll only do so if they feel they are in danger.
We know that our honey bees enjoy finding sweet treats from time to time, so we take advantage of that! After we’ve emptied the boxes of spare honey our bees share with us, we leave those boxes near the hives for the bees to clean up. Much like how your pet dog may happily lick your plate clean, our bees will happily lap up the honey remnants from our boxes. Watch them in action in this video we captured last month.
Did you realize just how varied a diet bees have? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. And talking of varied diets, we know you’re all aware of our raw and creamed honey, but did you know another benefit of honey is that we can use it to make delicious candy too! We now also sell honey caramels. If you fancy giving them a try, you can place an online order here.