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Please don't feed the bees!

I bit my tongue most of the time when this meme about feeding bees grated apple with water was floating around a week or two ago. But it just hit my feed again today. 

Folks, please, DO NOT do this. It's a bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons (read below if you really want to know).

If you want to help bees:
DON'T feed grated apple or anything else with water.
DON'T put out sugar water.
DON'T FEED HONEY... LIKE, EVER (it can spread disease between hives)

✔️DO grow flowering plants.🐝🐝🐝
✔️DO provide a safe water source (shallow, clean water in a warm sunny spot, with lots of things and rough surfaces to stand on🐝🐝🐝

Why the apple is a bad idea:
Remember, bees have evolved through thousands of years to cope with winter, often in hard, snow-covered areas where there is NO natural food available for months at a time. So they have a flexible lifespan... they can work hard and live only a short time (a few weeks) in summer, or they can hunker down, semi-hibernate, conserve energy, and live for six months or so through winter. To do this, bees build up a large store of honey in summer and autumn (our hives have about 30 kg of honey by late autumn) so they can rest through winter - they need that rest, or they can literally wear themselves out and not live until spring.
We have quite mild winters though, and they'll still fly on warm enough days. They are hoarders by nature, so if they find a supply of food they'll do their best to take advantage of it. The foragers will wake up the rest of the hive and recruit their sisters to bring back as much food as they can.
If the weather is marginal though, some of those girls won't make it back to the hive. If the weather changes suddenly to rain or cold, sometimes a lot of bees don't make it back, weakening the whole hive.
The work isn't over once the food is back at the hive.. because it can't be stored as weak fruity syrup - it has to be turned in to honey.
So a lot more bees have to wake up, and burn energy producing enzymes, processing the honey, fanning and dehydrating it, producing wax to store it, and basically burning up those lifelines far faster than they should.... in response to which the hive has to produce more young bees to replace the aging bees, which is a very expensive endeavour in itself.
Oh, and all that syrup being turned into honey generates a lot of evaporative moisture in the hive.. and we all know how much colder a damp home is than a dry one.
Things can get out of balance very easily and suddenly the hive is at a tipping point where its burning far more energy than it ever brought in from a plate of apple water.

Do you see?

Winter is a touch and go time for our bees, and the price of getting it wrong is a dead hive... something none of us want to see.

And if all that was TL;DR (too long; didn't read)....

Apple + water = fermentation = alcohol = drunk bees.

Drunk bees get kicked out of their hives.

Ain't nobody wants their garden full of drunk, surly, homeless bees with venom-filled butts.


thanks for caring enough to read 🐝💞,
Dee, the Beekeeper

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