Nectar to Pollen: Unveiling the Honey Bee Diet

Honey bees form a highly organized society and for thousands of years they have been of great interest to humans.

According to Great Plains Nature Center, humans have written about honey bees more than any other species of insects, which signals that they really have something special that's worth cherishing.

When it comes to their diet,the honey bee's diet consists of various ingredients which together help the honey bee grow and develop so that eventually it can produce honey.

honey bee on little purple flowers


For the first 5 or 6 days of a honey bee's adult life, it consumes great amounts of pollen in order to obtain lipids, vitamins, minerals and protein necessary for completing its development and growth.

Nectar is also part of the honey bee diet and between the tenth and the fourteenth day of their adult life, the main dietary source of worker bees is made up of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are gathered as nectar from plants, trees and flowers and they serve as an important source of nutrition.

honey bee on white flower with pollen


The nectar is actually the sweet water that collects on plants such as flowers, while pollen is a powder that is very rich in proteins.

The bees' diet consists of a lot of nectar, but at the end of the day they are not gorging themselves. The nectar is taken to the hive where it's used extensively for the production of honey.

Together, pollen and nectar give honey bees the necessary ingredients for producing the various types of honey required for the survival of the colony.

bee on white apple blossoms


As previously stated, honey is produced by the bees using the nectar they collect from flowers and other similar plants.

Honey makes up an important part of the honey bees' diet and they eat it every day of the year.

Not only is honey hygroscopic and easily digestible, but at the same time it also has great antibacterial properties that keeps the bees in good health.

bees on drawn honey combs


bee drinking water

In order to maintain normal behavior, brood rearing, composition and nutritional levels, water is a vital element in a bee's diet and according to various authority apiculture websites online, it needs to be available to the bees at all times.

bee drinking water

Sugar Syrup

To ensure that the honey bees are properly nurtured, some beekeepers need to ensure they provide them with a thick mixture of water and sugar in equal amounts.

Before giving it to the bees, they need to wait until the mixture hardens and when that happens, they place it over the cluster and the brood nest so the bees can consume it, this is only recommended when the hive has no honey reserve to feed as the ph is very different in sugar water than it is in honey.

Dry Sugar

Not every day of the year is great for feeding bees regular syrup and that is why in late winter, some beekeepers in colder climates will feed them dry sugar as an emergency method only.

It's important for any beekeeper to ensure proper nutrition for the bees under his care, since they can be a bit sensitive if they are not properly fed. In order for them to continue producing honey, beekeepers need to develop a diet that is right for the bees based on the environment and the climate they live in.

sugar cubes

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