Why are Honeybees at My Bird Feeder?


Honeybees at birdfeeder 

Have you noticed honeybees visiting your bird feeders on those first warm days at the end of winter?

For several days I saw honeybees foraging at the bird feeder with cracked corn. A close up view shows they are collecting dust or pollen on their hind legs. What would honeybees be foraging for in a bird feeder?

Believe it or not, it is the cracked corn. More specifically the dust on the cracked corn. These dust particles resemble pollen grains and also contain some trace amounts of corn pollen.

Honeybees appear to be somewhat opportunistic and willing to do almost anything for the survival of the colony. When the weather begins to warm and the colony starts to ramp up brood production, the bees need pollen to make bee bread to feed the larvae. When it is still too early for plants or trees to produce pollen, the bees look for any protein source so they end up at bird feeders.

Honeybees do not live on honey alone. A honeybee’s diet is made up of both carbohydrates and protein. Honey and nectar provide the carbohydrates. Pollen is the source of protein. Both contain traces of amino acids and other nutrients, but protein is a critical component of bee bread. Bee bread is the primary diet of larvae and honeybees from Day 3 of life onward. The exception is the queen bee who is fed royal jelly throughout her development.

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