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Feeding Honey Bees

An index of pages related to feeding honey bees

This page is an index for all pages connected with feeding bees.

The feeding of bees is a subject that is sometimes hotly debated, not only by beekeepers, but non-beekeepers too. We must remember that free-living colonies have one object, that is survival and they are subjected to the forces of nature. If they don't store enough food for the colony to survive, they will starve. Managed colonies have a very different situation, where they have food added and removed, so may be fed for management reasons, rather than simply for survival. Managed bees usually have a crop harvested, which often has to be replaced with a suitable substitute. To avoid starvation in a managed colony, it's reasonable for the beekeeper to feed. It is the "suitability" of the feed that often provokes the debate. Some people confuse the nutritive properties that honey has as far as humans are concerned, with the actual needs of the bees and it's desirability for them.

It is not always understood that honey is a "survival resource" for bees, not their normal diet. When there is more nectar coming in than is needed for maintenance, bees ingest nectar as their main food and convert the surplus into honey and store for leaner times. Nectar is mainly sucrose without the added "bits and pieces" that occur in honey. Judgment is often clouded by statements regarding the nutritive properties and "wholesomeness" of honey, that is probably more appropriate to humans than bees.

Comprehensive details of topics concerning feeding bees are available via the links on the list at left.

The Ambrosia link gives details of both Ambrosia invert syrup and Ambrosia fondant paste, which have been designed to be fed to bees with as close a mix of sugars as natural nectar.

Originally written by Dave Cushman. Edited by Roger Patterson.

Page created pre-2011

Page updated 04/09/2022