What Do Bees Eat?

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There are many different ways to answer the question, “What do bees eat?” A swarm of bees does not hunt for prey; they forage on flowers for nectar and pollen. Not every flower provides these nutrients, though. In order to survive, bees must eat a variety of foods to stay healthy.

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Pollen

Pollen contains a variety of amino acids, with some varieties having a higher concentration of specific amino acids than others. Pollen is essential for a colony’s nutrition. In the wild, pollen is plentiful and relatively cheap, but in some urban settings, pollen is not as abundant or inexpensive as it could be. In these circumstances, pollen foraging is less effective and a colony may suffer from poor foraging performance and reduced life span.

Nectar

Bees feed mostly on nectar, though some scientists argue that they are omnivores. The adults, known as worker bees, forage for nectar in flowering plants. Bees’ diet also includes pollen, which provides them with an abundant supply of protein.

Wood

Bees often live in or around wood surfaces, including shingles, siding, decks, picnic tables, fence posts, and windows. Wood surfaces are especially attractive to bees because they can easily access the wood they need to build their hives. Bees can also eat fruit, tree sap, and even wood itself when food sources are limited.

Fermenting microbes

Bees feed on pollen, which is fermented into honey and nectar. This process prevents pollen from decaying. In areas where pollen is scarce, this is important. Fermented pollen is also preferred by nurse bees.

Wasps

Bees eat wasps and hornets. Wasps are often found in garbage cans, a place where they can find sugary items. Bees have the advantage of being able to create honey, which can help satisfy their cravings for sugar. In turn, wasps cannot produce sugary syrups, so they are at a significant disadvantage.

Hornets

Asian hornets are a serious problem for honey bees because they kill large numbers of them. They also scare off foragers, reducing the amount of honey available for the winter. In addition to eating honey, hornets also kill the larvae and pupae. While hornets are a serious threat to honey bees, their presence is relatively minor in the U.S., compared to other threats such as pathogens and pesticides.

Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees are solitary insects that live outdoors. They do not live in colonies, and their reproductive stage occurs in the spring and summer. Female carpenter bees build their nests during the breeding season. They build their nests by drilling holes in wood across the grain, then creating a pollen ball and laying their eggs. Then, they seal the nest with wood pulp.

Carpenter bees are stingless

Carpenter bees are stingless and often called meliponines. They are members of the tribe Meliponini in the family Apidae and are closely related to common honey bees and bumblebees. In the United States, carpenter bees are the most common species in the United States, and they are most commonly found in wood.

Carpenter bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the U.S.

Carpenter bees are native to eastern North America and are found from Maine to Florida. They pollinate more than 100 crops in the US and are vital to our economy. These bees live in old tunnels and overwinter as adults. They produce one generation per year.