Can Bees Drink Sugar Water? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Bees feed on a variety of sweet liquid substances. They don’t just consume this food for the sole purpose of getting rid of hunger.

Feeding on these sweet substances enables them to produce honey, which we humans need.

Bees can drink sugar water because it provides them, especially worker bees with nutrients and energy needed after a hard days job. This is a combination of lots of sugar and water, which is given to bees in place of the natural sweet substances they enjoy in the wild.

Originally, bees are meant to feed on natural food.

These days, however, some beekeepers now feed these insects sugar water, also referred to as sugar syrup.

But since sugar water is a sweetened substance, bees enjoy it like honey.

Moreover, sugar water has a few important benefits that bees get. It’s a quick remedy to strengthen bees whenever they are week.

Are there any health benefits to bees drinking sugar water?

Can Bees Drink Sugar Water

Sugar water is beneficial to bees. Sometimes, during summer, bees tend to get very exhausted after working for the day.

If these exhausted bees are in the wild, they may even die in the process.

However, if they are under the care of a beekeeper who gives them sugar water, they will receive strength and stay active.

Sugar water strengthens bees whenever they are exhausted or weak.

The sweetened liquid substance gives these insects the energy boost they need to remain healthy.

So, it’s safe to say that sugar water is more or less a remedy for strengthening bees.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can bees break through walls

Is sugar water bad for bees?

It would be inappropriate to conclude that sugar water is bad for bees. Bees gain a lot from consuming sugar.

In many cases, bees have been revived and energized after they were fed sugar water.

But in as much as sugar water is beneficial to bees, beekeepers don’t rely solely on it as a source of food for the insects.

Bees need to feed on other natural food sources so that they can always stay healthy.

If bees keep consuming sugar water for a long time, they’d begin to get weak rather than staying strong.

Sugar water is only supposed to be administered once a while, especially when the bees appear to be weak and inactive.

After that, they should be fed pure honey and clean drinkable water.

Can you feed bees too much sugar water?

You must understand that sugar water is not a natural food source for bees.

Even though the sweetened liquid energizes and strengthens bees, too much of it is unhealthy for the insects.

Experienced beekeepers always advise that bees should never be fed too much sugar water.

In order for bees to stay healthy always, they must rely on other natural substances such as clean drinkable, nectar, as well as the honey they make themselves.

If bees are fed too much sugar water, it can potentially tamper with their health. It’s unsafe to constantly give sugar water to bees.

Also check out this article I wrote on do bee like dandelions

 How often should I feed my bees sugar water?

Sugar water shouldn’t be considered as food that bees should consume every day.

Most beekeepers usually recommend that sugar water shouldn’t be the primary food source for bees, which means the insects are to consume other things.

Instead of feeding your bees sugar water all the time, rely on pure honey and clean drinkable water.

Sugar water is just like a remedy or medicine that bee needs whenever they lose strength.

It’s advised to feed bees sugar water only when you observe that the insects aren’t active or vibrant as usual.

But if you insist, however, to often feed these insects sugar water, ensure you don’t do it every day.

You could feed them sugar water maybe once or twice a week.

How long does sugar water last for bees?

Sugar water is not as natural as pure honey that can last for as long as possible.

Natural honey can last for numerous years without getting spoiled.

Sugar water can only last for a few days after preparation. If it stays for even a week, it would get sour.

When sugar water goes bad, it’s meant to be disposed of. Feeding bees soured sugar water would do more harm than good.

Moreover, even though you try preserving it with a refrigerator, it won’t remain in good condition for a long time.

If you want to prepare sugar water for bees, it’s highly recommended to prepare a small amount that would be consumed by the bees at once.

What is the ratio of sugar to water for bees?

The right combination of sugar and water to make a sugar syrup is determined by the number of bees you need to feed.

If you intend to feed a large colony of bees, you’d need to prepare enough sugar water that would satisfy the insects.

If the bees aren’t satisfied with sugar water, they may be unsettled or restless.

It’s advised to feed them sufficiently.

Irrespective of the quantity of sugar syrup you intended to prepare, a ratio of 1:2 is considered the ideal measurement for preparation.

That is, the water should be about two times the amount of sugar.

Doing anything other than this may lead to an inappropriate mix of sugar and water, which can be bad for bees.

If the sugar is too much in the mixture, it could affect the bees badly.

What can I feed bees instead of sugar water?

Just as you’ve read earlier in this article, it’s unhealthy for bees to rely solely on sugar water, since it doesn’t contain enough nutrients.

Aside from sugar water, you can feed bees natural honey.

Perhaps if you have pure honey in your kitchen, that should be the ideal food bees need.

These insects will gladly enjoy honey. And the best part of it is that honey is much more nutritious than any other food source you can think of.

More importantly, it’s widely advised to not feed bees only honey. Ensure you provide the insects with water as well.

Should you feed bees sugar water in summer?

Knowing the right time to feed bees sugar water is quite essential. During summer, bees usually get exhausted after working for hours.

Worker bees and honey bees are typically the types of bees to get tired and weak during summer.

Sugar water is probably the best remedy to help bees recover on time during summer.

So in other words, summer is the best time to feed bees sugar water.

During winter, bees don’t get exhausted all the time.

They can stay active for several weeks without needing any sugar water to energize themselves.

And even if they eventually get exhausted, honey and water are enough to strengthen them.

You shouldn’t bother feeding sugar water to bees in winter. Wait until it’s summer.


Bees are creatures that need enough energy, so they can perform their tasks efficiently.

But in as much as sugar water can help these insects get the energy they need, it’s not completely safe for them to rely on it for survival.

Sadly, bees are unable to decide if sugar water is healthy.

You as a beekeeper have to take full responsibility by giving the bees what is right for them.

Sugar water is relatively good for bees, but it should not be the regular food source for the insects.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox