Do Honey Bees Like Honeydew?


A most interesting thing I learned about today!  This morning when I had a conversation with my friend/bee-mentor about my new queen, we digressed into talking about nectar sources for the bees.  She mentioned that she’d read something about honey bees collecting honeydew and I thought I’d do some further study to find out more.

Perhaps I should begin by expanding a bit on honeydew and what it is.  Honeydew is a substance secreted from hemipterans (also known as “true bugs”).  True bugs are sap-sucking insects like Aphids, which you may recognize as a common garden pest.  I already knew that many ants enjoy honeydew and in some cases even provide protection for the aphids making it.  The part about bees liking it was news to me!  So, again…the steps for true bugs making honeydew are:  1) the hemipteran (aphid) sucks the sap from your plant,  2) digests what it needs, and  3)excretes the rest!

And how fascinating is that?  Honey bees like honeydew!  Since I was really curious about honeydew as a nectar source for my bees, I did a little research this morning.  I read that there is even honey sold that is advertised as “honeydew” honey.

Sometimes the honeydew honey is called Forest Honey since honeydew can also be produced from trees such as Oak or Fir.  This honeydew is bactericidal and secreted in response to injury of the tree.   I’ll share my links so you can read more about it too.

Links to read about Aphids, Honeydew & Honey bees that like Honeydew ❀

1)  http://cynthiabrast.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/got-aphids-honey-dew-i/

2)  http://www.airborne.co.nz/hnydew.shtml

3)  http://ehoneybees.com/Types-of-honey/Honeydew-honey.php#.UAMXuI7lPbY

4)  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070222160102.htm

5)  http://www.nzes.org.nz/nzje/free_issues/NZJEcol17_2_85.pdf

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About "BUGGING" YOU FROM FRIDAY HARBOR!

I love beetles and keep bees! In my free time, I enjoy photography (mostly bugs) and documenting insect species found on San Juan Island. I have limited availability for local, onsite beekeeping consultation and hive inspection, honey bee removal/swarm collection as well as phone/skype consultation. Contact me at cyndibrast@me.com Member Washington State Beekeepers Association
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