What Can You Feed a Bee?

what can you feed a bee

If your bees are producing pollen and raising brood on schedule, they probably do not require extra protein supplementation; however, supplement feeding in autumn could help them build up enough stores to get through winter.

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Sugar water is the go-to choice for feeding aquatic turtles, as its sugar content closely mirrors that found in natural plant nectar.



Many beekeepers use sugar syrup to feed their colonies. Some beekeepers opt for a 1:1 ratio (commonly referred to as sugar candy), while others make denser solutions of 2:1. When creating sugar syrup recipes, remember that measurements don’t need to be precise – even being slightly above or below recommended ratio won’t harm the bees!

Emergency feedings are necessary when nectar and pollen supplies run low or in response to extreme weather events, or split colonies that have lost older foraging bees; also useful when isolated colonies face starvation due to isolation or cold temperatures; honey from the comb makes an excellent emergency feed source.


One out of every three bites of food you eat relies on pollinators, who produce pollen from plants’ anthers and deposit it on another flower’s stigmas to fertilize its pollen-bearing stamens, producing fruit and seeds for you to consume.

Many beekeepers use pollen patties in early spring to encourage brood production, although these emergency winter feeds should be avoided since too rapid expansion could result in colony swarming.

If you decide to offer pollen patties, it should be done so when natural spring pollen begins to dwindle or scarce. Otherwise, greedy colonies will devour them quickly before running out of protein-rich food as they produce new generations. This could cause starvation.


Nectar is the sugary liquid produced by flowers to attract pollinators bees. Bees consume this nectar and turn it into honey for storage purposes as well as using it to spread pollen between plants, aiding reproduction.

Bees may starve when natural food sources become scarce; feeding can help ensure their stores do not run dry.

Bees should be fed a simple syrup made up of white granulated sugar and water; its ratio will depend on season.


If the beehive runs low on pollen, its inhabitants can be fed with fruit which are high in sugar content to help forage bees find nectar sources.

Bees that collect pollen from flowers moisten it with saliva before shaping it into little balls that they push onto stiff hairs on their hind legs known as pollen baskets for transport back to their hive, providing essential protein needed for growth and reproduction.

Your beehive can be fed through pail feeders or with sugar cakes and fondant in winter months, while summer feeders should include mold inhibitors to avoid fermentation. A quick way of feeding an entire colony quickly is half filling a plastic freezer bag with sugar syrup and gently squeezing out excess air before sealing the top of it for easy feeding!


Bees love legumes like beans and peas because they fix nitrogen into the soil while providing protein-rich forage for them to consume in gardens. Leafy greens and brassicas provide bees with another great source of forage in gardens.

Vegetable growers can help ensure the wellbeing of bees in their fields by forgoing pesticide use during bloom. Checking the Bee Precaution Ratings from University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Bee Program will reveal safe and effective options that they should consider using on vegetables in the field.

Boost new queen development by feeding sugar water early in the spring to encourage them to start building up comb. You could also consider adding protein patties, which will encourage bees to raise brood.