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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Wisconsin rapids Wi USA
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    Default may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Field bees as they are out foraging,do they eat nectar or pollen? or can they even eat raw pollen? or do they grab a quick honey smack while in the hive?
    And also when we feed syrup do they eat it as it is or turn it all to honey first?........ just wondering!

  2. #2
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    Apr 2012
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    seattle, washington
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    I don't think it's a dumb question, I don't know the answer either.

  3. #3
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    My understanding is that bees consume honey before they leave for foraging. The amount they consume varies with the length of the trip.

    Don't know if sugar syrup and raw sugar is turned into honey first, before it is eaten by bees as food.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #4
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Bees (all foraging ones) calculate their energy use and consume stores before leaving based on that. It's why sometimes you see some falling short, they literally run out of gas. When looking at flight, it's not that insects get tired and have to rest as they don't build up lactic like we do, they literally run out of energy and have to stop. I imagine they could use nectar as a source in the field before making the final flight home.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    I read somewhere that bees have a "valve" of sorts that allows them to choose to consume nectar that they would otherwise transport back to the hive.

    Here is one source:

    The honey crop (also called the honey stomach) is where the worker bee stores collected nectar for the trip back to the hive without digesting it. A muscular valve called the proventriculus can be closed, keeping the nectar from passing into the stomach. The crop is expandable, allowing the bee to carry a larger load. Back in the hive, the contents of the crop can be ejected back through the mouth for storage in a honey cell or to feed other bees by trophallaxis.

    http://www.aragriculture.org/insects...y_honeybee.htm
    The link above is quite interesting, it even has descriptions and illustrations of specific bee parts.

    And a second reference:
    http://insects.tamu.edu/continuing_e...ey_Bees_PN.pdf
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 11-19-2012 at 04:53 PM. Reason: update with links
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
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    Oct 2008
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    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    With two stomachs, a bypass valve sounds about right. Bees can't convert sugar into honey, but can use it for food (energy). Nectar is the only source that can be converted into honey. Pollen is converted into a protein source to feed the young emerging bees.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  7. #7
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    Chesterfield, NH
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    My understanding is that bees consume honey before they leave for foraging. The amount they consume varies with the length of the trip.





    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  8. #8
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    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    What about the nurse bees then, who stay in the hive? Do they eat the honey stores in the hive? Seems like a large hive would be constantly struggling between feeding its members and storing honey for winter.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Nurse bees need relatively large amounts of pollen (compared to older bees) in order to be able to produce royal jelly to feed brood. More on that here:

    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/protein...ryngeal-gland/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
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    Mar 2010
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    Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Bees calculate their energy use and consume stores before leaving based on that.
    They have special algorithm apps that calculate distance, wind speed, and flight times versus calories burned and payload carried.
    Rusty
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com "A Better Way to Bee"

  11. #11
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    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Nurse bees need relatively large amounts of pollen (compared to older bees) in order to be able to produce royal jelly to feed brood. More on that here:

    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/protein...ryngeal-gland/
    Thanks, Rader, for the link and info. I had heard that the pollen is for the brood, but was unaware that pollen is the "fuel" for making royal jelly.

  12. #12
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    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty67 View Post
    They have special algorithm apps that calculate distance, wind speed, and flight times versus calories burned and payload carried.
    iBee ?

  13. #13
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    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunBee View Post
    iBee ?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?



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    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Humboldt, South Dakota
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    Default Re: may be dumb? what do bees eat in summer?

    You know, I hadn't really thought about it before. So this may help answer a question I was thinking about earlier this summer: Do foraging bees return to the hive without a full payload? They will at the end of the day, but I figured any forager returning mid-day must have no more capacity for foraging. However, it sounds like they would return regardless of payload if they've used up their estimated foraging energy supply. Either that or they may be able to tap in to the nectar supply that they've gathered via their proventriculus. Interesting!

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