What Do Bees Eat in the Winter?

what do bees eat in the winter

What do bees eat in the winter? Well, they eat many different types of food throughout the year. Some of them feed on Honey, other types of sugar syrup, Sugar cane, or even nuts. If you’re a beekeeper, it’s important to understand what bees eat during the winter. Read on to discover what your local bees eat in the winter.

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In the winter, bees collect and store honey, and it takes them many visits to one flower to produce a pound of the sweet stuff. Beekeepers can feed the bees sugar syrup and leave dry food for them to forage through. If you’re unable to leave the hive unattended, you can also leave dry food for them such as white sugar or hard candy.

Sugar syrup contains about 33% water, which means bees need additional feed in winter. If the sugar syrup contains more water than the bees need, they’ll have to work harder to process it into honey. Bees will lose a lot of energy during the winter, so you must prepare for a winter shortage by providing more honey. Beekeepers can prepare the late winter feed while closing the hives in the fall. Some people use a traditional candy board, but I prefer the no-cook candy board.

Sugar syrup

In the winter, bees do not feed on sugar syrup, but instead use a different form of food known as “winter feed.” This syrup is not digested by bees, and the temperature inside the hive will affect the quality of the syrup. When the temperature drops below 10degC, they reject it and begin building up food stores to survive the winter. Beekeepers should make sure that their hives are well-insulated, as the cold will cause the sugar syrup to evaporate and the bees to die.

Beekeepers should place a feeder about 100 yards from the cluster, and they must not use the feeder too close to the hive. Bees cannot easily find this feeder if it is too close to the hive. You should also avoid placing the feeder too far away from the cluster, as the cold can easily destabilize it. In addition, the feeder should be large enough for the hive to remain warm, so it should not be placed too close to the hive.

Sugar cane

During the winter months, bees will need special food for the cold months. Sugar syrup with too much water will make them work harder. Sugar with more water is 33% water. Bees will not eat it and will spend more energy processing it into honey. You can also add sugar or a supplement to it to make it more attractive to bees. In addition to sugar, you can feed bees with fondant and sugar on newspaper. My preferred method is a no-cook candy board.

Bees move up the hive during the winter. A cluster of bees forms at the bottom of the hive. The cluster moves up and feeds on honey stored in honeycomb cells. Bees that are plump have longer lifespans and can survive the winter for 4-6 months. You can leave sugar syrup or dry food for the bees in the winter. You can even give them hard candy.


Despite the fact that bees don’t have a winter diet, they still need plenty of food, especially carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Bee larvae, for instance, need higher amounts of protein and fat than adults. Bees can control the amount of each of these substances in their diets by sampling the foods in different ratios. Nurse bees often sample two types of food to determine the right balance.

Honeybees pollinate flowers and produce nectar. This energy-rich substance provides bees with the energy and water they need to keep their bodies functioning. Honeybees also eat over-ripe fruit, the sweet secretions of extra-floral nectaries, and aphids. In some parts of the world, bees eat meat, which may explain their reliance on this source of protein.


Cactus is what bees primarily eat in the winter, as it contains high levels of sugar, protein, and carbohydrates. Bees also collect pollen from cacti for their nests. The pollen they collect is very nutritious and has all the nutrients bees need to keep their colonies healthy. Bees use pollen from cactus to reproduce and produce new bees.

In the absence of leaves, most cacti perform photosynthesis in their stems. This process is discussed further below under the section on metabolism. The stomata are open during nighttime during photosynthesis. The photosynthesis process produces malic acid, which is stored as CO2 and converted into carbohydrates. When the stomata close, water vapor is trapped. However, phylogenetic studies have not supported a monophyletic classification of all genera of cacti. One study in 2011 found 39% monophyly among all genera of the subfamily Cactoideae. This classification of cacti is likely to change as phylogenetic studies continue.


Pollinating fruit trees is an important part of beekeeping, and many types of trees provide excellent food for bees. Some of the fruiting trees need the bees to produce flowers and fruit. Crapemyrtle trees have colorful flowers in late spring and summer, which the bees enjoy. American sweetgum trees produce honey, a prized commodity. If you’re in the process of planting a new tree, consider donating some of the trees to your local beekeepers.

There are many alternatives to honey, including sugar, syrups, and overripe fruit. While sweets are the easiest and most readily available for bees, syrups and sugar can harm bee health. During the winter months, fruits provide an alternative source of sugar that is much safer for the bees. It is also easy to feed them overripe fruit, so they can continue their honeymaking.