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Bees at hummingbird feeders

Dana Point, CA

Hello I am a new here. I am mostly a gardener and enjoy the bounty of wildlife my little patch has brought with it. I garden organically and feed birds and hummingbirds. Bees are a welcomed part of the lot, but I noticed lately that they have adopted a hummingbird feeder. It is no problem for me as I have added another feeder for the hummers. However I wonder if this is good for the bees. I live in Southern California, close to the coast. Any input ?

Richmond, TX

Sorry, I can't help. We often have wasps at our hummingbird feeders, But I've never seen bees feeding from them. Someone will know.

Richmond, TX

I take it back, today I saw several bees at the hummingbird feeders! I can't imagine it would hurt them. They feed at the same flowers as the hummingbirds, why not at their feeders?

Dana Point, CA

Thanks for the info. I was just wondering if is too concentrated maybe. Hummers have such a high matabolism. I am going to leave it for a while and see what happens.

Richmond, TX

Well, I certainly hope the solution in my hummingbird feeder is okay for bees; they have now practically emptied one feeder! I'm glad to see the bees, I just hope there isn't some crop they should be pollinating instead. Actually our summer was so dry, there are doubtless fewer things flowering than usual.

Dana Point, CA

It's official, I have now a beefeeder ! They are coming regularly and the hummers stay away from that feeder. There is strenght in number ! Hope this gives them strenght to go polinating, although they seem to act more drunk than eager to work to me.

Richmond, TX

Yes, same here. The hummingbirds seem to be gone. but the bees have really taken over!

Forestville, NY

The feed in the humming bird feed is fine for the bee. Most Humming bird feeding soulution is suger syrup the same stuff that alot of beekeepers use when feeding when there no nector flow. As far as letting them feed from it, is not a good Ideal, They will start what is known a robbing situation. Basically what I'm saying is that the bees foraging off of the feeder not the flower and could move on to other thing like soda can, plus if enough of the hive become dependent on feeders it could weaken or even collapse the hive. To stop this take the feeders down for a week or two to fool the bee in to thinking the flowers patch is gone.

Richmond, TX

Thanks Js, I was wondering whether I might not be creating dependent bees. There really is still a good supply of flowering weeds around. Let the bees pollinate them so that they can "be fruitful and multiply" - and produce seed for the birds to eat; I hope they eat it all!

Dana Point, CA

Js, I appreciate the advice. I will take the feeder down. We are in Southern California and there are still plenty of flowers around. On the positive side, it looks like there are fewer bees coming. Maybe they are self regulating due to the close proximity of flowers. I will still take the feeder down. Again, thanks for the post.

Richmond, TX

I took the feeders down, and for a couple of days the bees seemed to be very annoyed. They buzzed me whenever I was out on the porch. Now they have apparently moved on.

Marengo, IL

another note:
honeybees need water. During a drought, they seek water. I put shallow pans of water on top of my hives or spray the hives and surrounding grass with a hose. They will also frequent bird baths dog bowls, etc.
In late winter & early spring I feed my bees a mixture of sugar water slightly more concentrated than hummingbird food, but they will ignore it as soon as pollen becomes available. Wasps & hornets will come to "rob" the remaining sugar water, if I leave it in front of the hives.

Richmond, TX

So should I have allowed the bees to depend on the hummingbird feeders?

Pahrump, NV

This is good news cfbloom! I have many busy bees here out in the desert (outside Vegas) coming in to my hummer feeders....yesterday, I had a very active bunch that were not like the usual calm ones that come each day.....I'm hoping for a good bunch of bees for the orchard this summer. Last summer was not good at all.

This is the first winter out of seven that I have seen the bees at the feeder. One with extended flowers is not manageable for them, so the hummers should keep with that one....when we have Spring, I'll bring in the ones the bees are going to now...

Richmond, TX

So it's okay to let bees become dependent on humming bird feeders? I took mine down fearing I was letting them learn a bad habit. I would like to encourage the bees to stick around.

Pahrump, NV

Here are some of the bees at my feeder last month.......
When the Almonds, Apricots and Peaches bloom...I'll take these in....use only the bee-resistant ones for the hummers.

Thumbnail by drosgarden

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