Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What do Bees Eat?

Did you know that honeybees eat more than just honey? They eat a couple different types of food to stay healthy and have energy to work!

Of course honeybees eat honey! They make it from nectar, the sugary substance flowers make to invite the bees to visit. The honeybees gather this nectar to make into honey. You can learn about how honeybees make honey in our past post called “How Do Honeybees Make Honey?” The honey they eat is the source of carbohydrates and gives them energy. Did you know that honey is a good energy source for humans too!
The pollen baskets are packed full!

Honeybees also eat pollen (a powdery substance flowers make) for their protein. They mix the pollen with nectar and pack it onto their back legs into their pollen baskets. They then carry the pollen home to feed to the brood (baby bees). This pollen keeps the honeybees healthy so they can fight off infection in the hive and help the baby bees grow big and strong.
The milky substance inside the cells is royal jelly.

Royal jelly is a milky, protein rich substance that the honeybees feed special eggs to make them become a queen bee. If the egg wasn’t fed royal jelly then it would become a worker bee, but when an egg is fed the special food it supercharges their development so that they are able to lay eggs and become a queen bee. Royal jelly is made from glands in the bees’ head. Some people like to eat royal jelly because it has so many healthy proteins in it. While it doesn’t turn you into a queen bee it can be a great way to keep yourself healthy.

Lastly, honeybees drink water. All living animals need water and honeybees are no different. They look for slow moving sources of water because honeybees can drown. Pollinating and collecting nectar is a hard job and the worker bees need somewhere safe to land to take a drink of water. We wrote back in February about how you can build your own bee water bath!