Feeding Bees Sugar Water?

Advice has recently been doing the rounds encouraging people to feed exhausted bees sugar water. This may potentially do more harm than good. Some of this advice seems to have been put out by a facebook page referred to as “Sir David Attenborough” which has nothing to do with the great man and has since been taken down after giving out a variety of pseudoscientific, misguided information. Both honeybee and bumblebee worker bees have very short natural lifespans during the summer months, and by feeding individual worker bees sugar water, you may inadvertently aid in their spreading disease and/or parasites in their colonies. Honey is worse in a sense as it may itself contain disease causing microbes. One exception to this rule of feeding bees may be the feeding of sugar water to queen bumblebees…these are hard to mistake with worker bumblebees due to their much greater size. If you want to do something to really help bees and other pollinators as supported by scientific evidence, the best thing you can do is plant some wildflowers. You don’t need much space to do this…even a window box or a plant pot or two can make a difference…and you will be providing much more substantial and longer term help to bees and other pollinators.

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