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Gardeners Told to Give Exhausted Bees an Energy Drink

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the it's-what-bees-crave dept.

Science 200

In an effort to help Britain's declining bee population, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is urging gardeners to leave out a homemade energy drink for tired bees. The RSPB says that a mix of two tablespoons of sugar with a tablespoon of water makes a perfect bee-boosting drink. Val Osborne, head of wildlife inquiries at the RSPB, said, "Many people keep seeing bees on the ground and assume they are dead, but chances are they are having a rest. Much like us, a sugary drink could boost their energy levels and a simple sugar and water combination will be a welcome treat."

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Short Sighted (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29038997)

The bees will have trouble sleeping at night and by the end of the week they will be in a barely conscious stupor.

Trust me.

Re:Short Sighted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039307)

Trust me.

But, who are you?

Redbull... (4, Funny)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | about 5 years ago | (#29039003)

Maybe they need an extra set of wings?

Brawndo (4, Funny)

Propaganda13 (312548) | about 5 years ago | (#29039351)

But Brawndo's got what plants crave. It's got electrolytes. I'm sure bees crave it too.

Re:Brawndo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039797)

I'm not sure bees are able to handle riding a 300ft tall pony covered in chainsaws.

Re:Brawndo (1)

footissimo (869107) | about 5 years ago | (#29040741)

Do you even know what electrolytes are?

Re:Brawndo (2, Funny)

TTURabble (1164837) | about 5 years ago | (#29040823)

Do you even know what electrolytes are?

...its what bees crave!

Bee Pollen (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 5 years ago | (#29039609)

uh... isn't bee Pollen one of those things they put in the energy pills they sell at the gas-n-go mini marts? Maybe they should add some pollen to that sugar water.

also isn't giving Bee's sugar going to prevent them from bothering with the flowers they are supposed to be pollinating? after all they visit flowers for sugar not pollen. The pollen is just symbiotic side-efffect.

Re:Bee Pollen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29041109)

No they do visit flowers for pollen. Bees eat the pollen, it's their source of protein. The pollination is a side-effect of their pollen collecting.

Re:Redbull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039657)

Will this simple syrup not just make them crash? Sugar is the worst for energy because you spike, but then crash hard and feel worse..... and it takes it's tole after awhile.

Re:Redbull... (4, Insightful)

samurphy21 (193736) | about 5 years ago | (#29040453)

I'm pretty sure that mammalian biochemistry doesn't apply equally to bees.

Bees live off a diet of simple syrups in the form of nectar. This is just a more concentrated form. You don't crash if you have a continuous supply of sugar.

energy drink, +100%vitality + 20 % mana (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 5 years ago | (#29039721)

They just need a potion +100% vitality. That is all. A better build class would be nice as well.

Look, I know a dead bee when I see one (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29039027)

This is an ex-bee!

Re:Look, I know a dead bee when I see one (3, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | about 5 years ago | (#29039745)

No, it's Eric the Half-a-Bee [wikipedia.org] .

Re: Redbull (3, Funny)

Mendoksou (1480261) | about 5 years ago | (#29039043)

I've always kind of wanted to see bees sucking on some Bawls, does that make me abnormal?

Re: Redbull (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29040395)

There's an app for that.

Fix one thing, break another... (2, Insightful)

d474 (695126) | about 5 years ago | (#29039051)

That, and you'll end up with an army of ants swarming the sugary concoction. Pretty much all insects will find it tasty.

This is obviously a plot by the Society of Birds to make more food for their feathered friends.

Re:Fix one thing, break another... (4, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#29039465)

That, and you'll end up with an army of ants swarming the sugary concoction. Pretty much all insects will find it tasty.

A simple trick from hummingbird feeders is to have a cup of water the ants would have to swim through to get to the nectar, likea so [birdersworld.com] . Ants can't swim, so they can't get to it. Okay, some species can form ant-bridges to cross water. Hopefully those kind aren't around where you're keeping your bees. :)

This is obviously a plot by the Society of Birds to make more food for their feathered friends.

Maybe! Certainly hummingbirds will like the sugar water as much as bees do.

Here's another trick that would probably work if you are only interested in attracting bees to your feeder: Paint it yellow. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, not so much to yellow. That's why hummingbird feeders are red. Some though have yellow "flowers", and I've learned that you should avoid those if you don't want bees and wasps on your feeder because they like yellow. Flip that around, and you have a feeder that should attract bees (and wasps) but not hummingbirds.

Re:Fix one thing, break another... (5, Funny)

rve (4436) | about 5 years ago | (#29040365)

Maybe! Certainly hummingbirds will like the sugar water as much as bees do.

Not a problem in Britain

Here's another trick that would probably work if you are only interested in attracting bees to your feeder: Paint it yellow. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, not so much to yellow.

But yellow may attract a flock of song chavs or a legless tree asbo.

Re:Fix one thing, break another... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#29040411)

An "exhausted" bee cannot fly any more than an ant can. In fact, as mentioned in the summary, people often mistake them for dead.

Re:Fix one thing, break another... (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#29040517)

Well that's why you feed them, so they don't get too exhausted to move. :P

What are you planning to do, otherwise? Physically pick up the immobile bees and place them close enough to the nectar to eat but not so close they drown?

I hate bees (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039723)

I will start feeling benevolent towards these insects once laws are enacted that disallow the posession of both wings and a stinger.

It should be illegal to have both. FOR GOD'S SAKE PICK ONE!!!

Diabetic and Obese (4, Funny)

riboch (1551783) | about 5 years ago | (#29039067)

Next thing you know we will be complaining about a diabetic and obese bee population.

Re:Diabetic and Obese (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29040693)

I can totally see that Robot Chicken episode now.

Re:Diabetic and Obese (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | about 5 years ago | (#29040903)

One must consider that a significant percentage of WASPs (humans and soon hymenopterans) are already obese and diabetic. I suggest a name change for the agency: Royal Society for the Protection of the Birds and the Bees.

Red Bull Gives You Stings! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039083)

Don't feed the Africans sugar. Makes em slightly more agitated than children.

Or some soda cans (1)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | about 5 years ago | (#29039099)

Ever go on a picnic and see bees enter your soda can? Or see a trashcan buzzing with bees because people throw away their sweet, sugary beverages?

Santa is powered by cookies and milk. Bees are powered by honey... that's why they make it. Why not leave some "honey" out for them as a mid-flight snack?

My only question would be how this affects their ability to collect pollen and make honey back at the hive. If it allows them to pollinate more flowers, then hell, I'm all for it.

Those aren't honey bees, they're yellow jackets (5, Informative)

swb (14022) | about 5 years ago | (#29039157)

Yellow jackets are protein eaters (other bugs, roadkill). They don't make honey. In the late summer / early fall they lose their normal food sources and they start going after carbohydrates -- sugary soda and pretty much anything on the picnic table.

They're also super aggressive at that time of year and can sting repeatedly. Which is why I hang a yellow jacket trap to kill as many as possible. 10 in the last day!

Re:Those aren't honey bees, they're yellow jackets (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#29039343)

IIRC it was like this that their larvae eat proteins and secret some sugary juice that the adult yellow jackets live off. When there are no more larvae in late summer, the adult YJs are starving and thus get a wee bit aggressive. I mean, who wouldn't?

Re:Those aren't honey bees, they're yellow jackets (1)

malkman (539215) | about 5 years ago | (#29039577)

Yellow jackets are protein eaters (other bugs, roadkill). They don't make honey. In the late summer / early fall they lose their normal food sources and they start going after carbohydrates -- sugary soda and pretty much anything on the picnic table.

They're also super aggressive at that time of year and can sting repeatedly. Which is why I hang a yellow jacket trap to kill as many as possible. 10 in the last day!

I can attest to yellow jackets and the similar colored paper wasp being annoying, but I think they pollinate plants as well, thought not nearly as much as bees...

Traps are great (5, Funny)

flaming error (1041742) | about 5 years ago | (#29039699)

.. but if you prefer something more aggressive than passive, you can't beat tennis racket bug zappers [amazon.com] . Keeps the kids off the xbox for hours.

Re:Traps are great (2, Interesting)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 5 years ago | (#29039885)

22 rifle loaded with the "snake shot" or "rat shot" pellets. Whole bunch of little tiny shot, good for 10 yards or so at most before the pattern opens too much.

Re:Traps are great (1)

Convector (897502) | about 5 years ago | (#29040255)

You put the bug zappers around the Xbox?

Re:Traps are great (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 5 years ago | (#29040309)

No, around the xbox I put the yellowjackets.

Re:Traps are great (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#29040819)

You might end up breeding faster and more agile yellow jackets.

We use those zappers a lot to kill mosquitoes in my house.

The trouble is, after some years of that, the current generation of mosquitoes now seem to be smaller and faster. They even bite faster - they can land, draw blood and fly away to escape in a short time.

Worse is, when I'm drifting off to sleep with the zapper nearby, the mosquitoes seem to stay away when I'm alert and waiting, but just when I am about to doze off - one or two start to attack. So I "wake" and try to swat them. I might get a few. But after that if I lie down, wait and stay alert (eyes closed) they still seem to not approach till I start to doze off again. I think future generations of mosquitoes in my area would be the ones that tend to attack when I'm asleep.

The "doze detection" might just be my imagination, but the "small and fast" is definitely true (in other places the mosquitoes are so slow - and "fluffy" that I can even slowly prod them in the air with my finger and they don't zoom off).

What could possible go wrong? (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 5 years ago | (#29039199)

My only question would be how this affects their ability to collect pollen and make honey back at the hive. If it allows them to pollinate more flowers, then hell, I'm all for it.

Except if the source of that sweet, sweet sugar is more convenient to the hive than the flowers (and it would have to be, if it is intended to help the bees get to the flowers) then why go to the flowers?

It's like saying, I'm hungry but the McDonalds is too far away. So I'll stop at the Burger Kind on the way. Only after stopping at Burger King, there's no need to go to McDonalds.

I'm guessing if such assistance to the bees becomes widespread, fewer flowers will be pollinated.

Re:What could possible go wrong? (1)

berend botje (1401731) | about 5 years ago | (#29040035)

I'm guessing, that with the bee population as it is, if we don't help them a little bit, soon there will be no bees left to pollinate the flowers.

Re:What could possible go wrong? (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29040667)

Do you have any other guesses to share?

Re:What could possible go wrong? (1)

oni (41625) | about 5 years ago | (#29041147)

if the source of that sweet, sweet sugar is more convenient to the hive than the flowers (and it would have to be, if it is intended to help the bees get to the flowers) then why go to the flowers?

Bees collect pollen and stick it to their legs to carry back to the hive. Can they carry sugar water on their legs? No? Then they'll still have to go to the flowers.

No thanks. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039103)

Call me a coward, but i hate bees. Awful things that have stung me far too many times. That crap about them being peaceful and only attacking if attacked? Not true. Evil blighters. Oh, and honey stinks too, so it's not even as if they do anything useful. Good riddance!

Re:No thanks. (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | about 5 years ago | (#29039201)

Yeah, it's not like bee's are natures #1 pollenators. Who needs food anyway? Animals? Animals suck worse than bees. Plants? Plants suck worse than animals. People? People suck worse than plants and animals.

Re:No thanks. (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | about 5 years ago | (#29039445)

Soooooo, your point is, bees are the best sucker out there ? Should I try to put some bee's DNA inside my imaginary GF ?

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29040111)

Yeah, it's not like bee's are natures #1 pollenators.

Actually, beetles are nature's #1. Bees just dominate humanity's food crops. http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/beetles.shtml [fs.fed.us]

Nice picture (3, Insightful)

us7892 (655683) | about 5 years ago | (#29039109)

Such a beautiful picture of a bee and a dandilion...and on slashdot. Awwww.

Re:Nice picture (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039345)

Such a beautiful picture of a bee and a dandilion...and on slashdot. Awwww.

Nice picture hell, get a load of the bollox on that bee!

Re:Nice picture (2, Informative)

Reziac (43301) | about 5 years ago | (#29039747)

Then I noticed the filename and imemdiately thought, "That's no bee, it's Thumbelina!!"

There's a wild beehive somewhere on my place (never have found it, tho it might be high up in one of the old hollow trees) and being we're in the desert, a lot of the year they clearly do not get enough to eat (lots of them being small or weak). But they've completely ignored the sugar water I've put out for them. [I used to work for a beekeeper, so I knew to do this.]

More electrolytes for the bees (1)

readthemall (1531267) | about 5 years ago | (#29039121)

Is there a chance that the bees need a drink rich in electrolytes [imdb.com] ?

Sugar, water, purple... it's drink! (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 5 years ago | (#29039131)

Sounds like hummingbird drink to me, hardly groundbreaking....

2 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039143)

It's more like energy sludge....

Maybe the bees on the ground... (1)

Snotman (767894) | about 5 years ago | (#29039151)

were stoner bees. Isn't that what the Partnership for a Drug-Free America wants me to believe about lazy bees? Is getting the pollen back to the hive such an urgent matter anyway? If one workers productivity loss will kill a hive, a hive is a fragile place to live. Meh, such is the bee's life to slave away for the greater good.

Re:Maybe the bees on the ground... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 5 years ago | (#29040599)

A hive is a fragile place to live. Apparently worker bees die from exhaustion after a couple of weeks once they are old enough to leave the hive looking for food. But at least they get to boss the queen around!

nothing new (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039175)

my Unlce used to keep bees, before he became allergic to them. leaving sugar water was always SOP. especially during those times of years when flowering was low.

i really dislike this bee paranoia. first honey bees are NOT native to North America, although the article is from the UK. in fact Naive Americans called them the "white man's fly". Bees are not the sole pollinators of everything either. the major crops grown in my home state don't rely on pollinators. corn and wheat are not pollinated by bees, nor are numerous other species. many crops are grown and produced from cloning/cutting and still many plants use other insects as pollinators. look at the many species of figs that often are associated with just one species of wasp.

Colony Collapse Disorder (3, Informative)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | about 5 years ago | (#29039185)

Is Britain having the same problem the US is with CCD?

  I talked to a guy that sells honey at the local farmer's market, and this past year was the first time in 15 years that he actually had to purchase more bees because he'd lost over 90% of his hives to CCD.

Anyhow, the symptoms described in the article sort of sounded like CCD, although I've never seen it, just had it described to me.

 

Re:Colony Collapse Disorder (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#29040487)

A cure for "Colony Collapse Disorder" has recently been announced. It turns out (after an exhaustive study, in more ways that one), that there were a combination of microorganisms causing the problem. And it takes a mix of antibiotics to cure it, but it does work. The recovery has been pretty dramatic.

Re:Colony Collapse Disorder (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 5 years ago | (#29040723)

According to this book I'm reading, ("A world without bees" by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum") they do have CCD in Britain, but the government is in denial about it. CCD is a controversial diagnosis... it could be caused by Varroa mites, Varroa mite treatment, Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, neonicotinoid pesticides (which some claim makes bees go senile long before lethal dose), or a combination. Even global warming may play a role.

Weird. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 5 years ago | (#29039229)


Many people keep seeing bees on the ground and assume they are dead, but chances are they are having a rest

I don't see them on the ground but they seem to collect in my lawn mower's grass catcher.

.

Ignorance? (1)

scribblej (195445) | about 5 years ago | (#29039241)

Bumblebees nest in the ground; seeing them "on the ground" means nothing other than all is normal.

Re:Ignorance? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29039731)

The don't nest on sidewalks.

Re:Ignorance? (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 5 years ago | (#29039919)

Yes, bumblebees often crawl around on the ground, and nest below the surface. But honeybees don't. And it's not really typical for honeybees to rest on the ground for long periods.

They are are pretty hard to mistake for one another, if you've even a vague idea of what each looks like. And only honeybees have a big economic impact. (You like to eat? Then you should like bees!)

Re:Ignorance? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29040799)

Wheat and corn and rice and soy all largely self pollinate (or wind pollinate, there seems to be some technical difference there), so the food supply would probably be 'okay', only variety would be destroyed (as most fruits and vegetables would require hand pollination and become quite a bit more expensive).

Re:Ignorance? (3, Insightful)

scribblej (195445) | about 5 years ago | (#29041075)

Yes, they're hard to mistake for each other, and if you read the article, honeybees only get a tiny mention. They're one of three species that are in the article. The other two are bumblebees. The only expert quoted is a bumblebee expert. RTFA.

And as I stated, bumblebees live IN THE GROUND. So seeing them on the ground is normal.

And So Began... (4, Funny)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | about 5 years ago | (#29039303)

...the great UK honey bee diabetes epidemic of 2010.
 

I really hate being right in advance all the time.

better idea (0, Troll)

shalomsky (952094) | about 5 years ago | (#29039311)

Stop using pesticides, not just in the UK but all around the world, and stop creating genetically modified organisms, and maybe the bees will do better all on their own.

Re:better idea (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039397)

Better idea - Genetically modified superbees.

Prob Sol

Even better idea (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29039801)

you actually learn what the hell you are talking about.

A) If we stopped using pesticide, 1/3 of the human population will die from starvation.

B) 'Pesticides' are not bad. They are a good thing when properly used. Most, if not all, modern pesticides have a very short half life

C) At this pojnt it looks like its two things causing this, a parasite, and a fungus. Not all the data is in, but it is strong

D) There are no issues with genetically created crops. That is panic based on ignorance and an ideology.

E) AS I mentioned befroe, it is really starting to lok like a double whamy of a parasite and a fungus. Something Humans can help cure.

Re:Even better idea (-1, Flamebait)

berend botje (1401731) | about 5 years ago | (#29040169)

A) Trading 1/3 of the human population for a healthy bee population seems fair to me. Most of you lot it scum anyway.

B) Why use pesticides at all? With that superfluous 1/3 gone you wouldn't need as much food anyway.

C) Ok, maybe using pesticides that target said parasites might be a good thing.

D) There are loads of issues with genetically modified crops. Besides, I wouldn't mind seeing Monsanto go belly up. Now that's an immoral set of creeps!

E) First get rid of 1/3 of the human population, plant more flowers and let's see if the bees can get their act together themselves. I think they can.

Re:Even better idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29041089)

That's hilarious- you seem to be fine with the idea of two billion people starving to death, an event which would produce the greatest period of suffering in human history, and yet it's Monsanto who are "an immoral set of creeps."

Re:Even better idea (1, Redundant)

RollingThunder (88952) | about 5 years ago | (#29041155)

OK, you first.

Re:Even better idea (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#29040569)

As I mentioned above, it has already been announced that a cure for "Colony Collapse" has been found. It was caused by a combination of microorganisms, and requires a mix of antibiotics to fix. But the fix works.

As it turns out, the fungus and the parasite (varroa mite) are unrelated to Colony Collapse, though they can certainly contribute to problems.

Re:Even better idea (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#29040611)

Oh... I just thought I would throw in, as an aside: there are plenty of problems with "genetically created" (I think you mean genetically altered) crops. But that has nothing to do with the bee problems, except for the existence of huge tracts of monoculture crops, which do not help the bees in the least.

Re:Even better idea (3, Informative)

mdalal97 (256621) | about 5 years ago | (#29040751)

D) Actually, there are, but it has less to do with eating it and more to do w/ the terms of use imposed by companies like Monsanto/ADM. Primary, you can't use any of the seed from your own field to plant in the following year. You always have to buy the seeds again. Then say you are a farmer who has a field next to another farmer who uses genetically modified crops that, somehow, cross pollinate with your crops. If Monsanto tests your crops and finds their genetic markers, you are screwed. I won't even go into the problems with our monoculture of food production.

Re:Even better idea (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 5 years ago | (#29040973)

C) A virus (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus) and an old mite which is developing resistance to the treatments that have worked so far.. But healthy hives should be able to survive these things, and fungal infections too. There may be other factors influencing the immune response of the hive and the individual bees.

D) Yes there are. You're really swallowing propaganda if you're so naive to say there are no issues at all. The question is whether the tradeoffs are worth it, not if there are issues (when you splice a gene into a plant to make it produce its own pesticide, you certainly should consider whether it could harm pollinating insects)

Re:Even better idea (1, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 5 years ago | (#29041027)

Not to mention that CCD is overplayed in the media. Yes, its real but its not exactly the bee rapture.

On top of that, bees are an evolutionary mess. They dont have the genetic variety to withstand a lot of nature's attacks like viruses and fungus, which are the most likely cause of CCD not this bullshit from the GP.

At this point E) is their best option. Humans must intervene to keeps bees going because mother nature is doing her best to kill them. Someone needs to teach the GP and his ilk that mankind/monsanto/pesticides arent the villians here, its good old mother nature herself.

Its also worth pointing out that the honey bee isnt even native to north America, so its an artificial situation to begin with. Nature doesnt want bees alive here. Again, its up to man and technology to keep them going.

Why not (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039357)

Just remove the bee excluders from your Hummingbird feeder. They both feed on the same thing. Duh !

Idiocracy (1)

McGregorMortis (536146) | about 5 years ago | (#29039363)

Sounds like they should be giving the bees Brawndo, The Thirst Mutilator. If it works as well for the bees as it does for crop irrigation, then they'll be swimming in honey in no time.

Re:Idiocracy (1)

iveygman (1303733) | about 5 years ago | (#29039641)

Those bees have what plants crave.

Everyone will think this is great... (4, Funny)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | about 5 years ago | (#29039455)

Until we start wondering why our honey is giving us a crazed, caffeine-infused high. Remember, honey is basically bee vomit. Also, if Red Bull gives you wings, what does it give bees?

Re:Everyone will think this is great... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039757)

Erections

Sugar Water - Common Knowledge (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29039529)

Anyone who knows anything about bees, already knows about sugar water... it's a common Bee Keeping practice... at least in the States it is.

The formula sounds vaguely familiar (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 5 years ago | (#29039537)

"RSPB says that a mix of two tablespoons of sugar with a tablespoon of water makes a perfect bee-boosting drink."

So... hummingbird feeders?

Disinfect your feeding containers (4, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | about 5 years ago | (#29039543)

Just like with Hummingbird feeders, if you do this I recommend dis-infecting your container periodically by boiling (or use disposable containers).

Otherwise, you eventually have microbial contamination problems which could be dangerous to the bees you're trying to help. Growth of yeasts, bacteria, and other organisms should not be assumed to be necessarily visible to the naked eye, either.

Open sugar water (3, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | about 5 years ago | (#29039561)

There will be a lot more insects finding their way to the sugar water. Most likely ants will find the sugar and swarm on it first.

I keep bees and have to feed them sugar water when weather doesn't cooperate with their collection of pollen and nectar. The only thing that keeps ants away from the sugar water I feed to a hive are the hundreds of guard bees. They bite at the ants and chase them away.

Re:Open sugar water (3, Interesting)

Reziac (43301) | about 5 years ago | (#29040015)

Wouldn't putting the sugar water in a hanging basket help?

I use a painting of motor oil to keep ants out of my dog food bins, just a swath around the bottom of the bin. Soap also works but motor oil lasts a lot longer.

Any idea why starving bees would reject sugar water? Here in the desert, during the dry season there's often NOTHING for them to collect. My local wild beehive (nice gentle bees so I'd like to keep them healthy!) follows me around for water, and they arrive in clouds when I start spraying down stuff, but when I put out sugar water they ignore it, even tho they are often clearly starving. (They look poor and weak.)

I used to work for a beekeeper, tho mainly in the honey house. If most folks could see honey at that stage, they'd never eat it. :)

Re:Open sugar water (4, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#29040897)

Everybody here is missing the point. Let me tell you something about bees.

Bees have "scouts" that go out looking for nectar. When they encounter a good patch of flowers, they fly back to the hive, and they do a "dance" that communicates to the other bees the direction AND the distance to this patch of nectar. Other worker bees then "fuel up" with just enough honey to fly the indicated distance. (I know that it seems unlikely that bees are capable of such organization, but this much has been known for decades.)

On rare occasions, the "directions" can be wrong, or some other problem happens, and a bee does not find the correct patch of flowers. In such cases, the bee can become "exhausted" (it has used up its store of honey). An exhausted bee cannot fly! As mentioned by OP, in fact, people often mistake them for dead. So ANYTHING hanging is not going to do these bees any good.

After having read about this as a child, I tried it on a bee that I found outside and originally took for dead. But then it did move a little. I gave it a sugar+water solution to drink, and a couple of minutes later it flew off. I have repeated this experiment many times, and it has not failed me yet. Except when the bee was actually dead.

Re:Open sugar water (2, Funny)

TheHawke (237817) | about 5 years ago | (#29040311)

Don't let it stand out in the sun too long or it'll ferment. Last thing you need is a bunch of drunk bees and a crashed hive.

Welcome! (2, Funny)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | about 5 years ago | (#29039691)

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords with a refreshing sugary drink!

bees rest, but parrots are dead? (1)

ArcadiaAlex (1498971) | about 5 years ago | (#29039787)

I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

Aren't they Worried... (3, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 5 years ago | (#29039861)

About Diabeeeedes?

Bees need good nutrition, too.... (3, Interesting)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | about 5 years ago | (#29040027)

Hello,

    I've been reading that one of the reasons US bees may be having trouble is a poor diet. Bees need other nutrients in their diet than pure sugar. They get it from pollen and genuine plant nectar. Sugar water doesn't contain these.

    A lot of US bees, instead of having a variety of foods available as would be in a wild environment, have just one type of flower to feed upon, like apples, and maybe some corn-syrup-water. Inadequate nutrition results, and CCD is an effect (so the theory goes).

    How about we give bees sugar + complete bee nutrient solution?

--PM

Re:Bees need good nutrition, too.... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 5 years ago | (#29040341)

In fact, lets go through the whole nutrition pyramid, line em up with a serving of fish and dairy products, some more veggies too.

lets hope this doesnt create an additional problem (1)

IronDragon (74186) | about 5 years ago | (#29040081)

Apis oBEEsity.

Try BRAWNDO! (1)

viridari (1138635) | about 5 years ago | (#29040099)

It has ELECTROLYTES and makes you FLY REALLY FAST! You'll also WIN at things you're not even supposed to WIN at like BUZZING! BRAWNDO will make you WIN AT BUZZING!

Re:Try BRAWNDO! (2, Funny)

saladpuncher (633633) | about 5 years ago | (#29040187)

BRAWNDO!! It's got what BEES CRAVE! It's like DRIVING a MONSTER TRUCK into a field of pollen! BRAWNDO!!

Re:Try BRAWNDO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29041111)

BRAWNDO!! It's got what BEES CRAVE!
It's like DRIVING a MONSTER TRUCK made of biceps into a field of pollen!
BRAWNDO!!

fixed that for you.

A possible cause for decling bee populations (1)

vtechpilot (468543) | about 5 years ago | (#29040259)

One of the best theories I've heard about declining bee populations is that humans have been selecting our crops for traits that we desire such as larger fruit, and may have inadvertently selected out traits that bees desire such as flower nectar. In this scenario pollinating our crops becomes a bigger job with ever smaller return on the work for the bees. I think a piece of information that might support this theory is to examine how wild bees near undeveloped areas have been affected. Presumably an undeveloped area would still contain wild flowering plants that would still have normal nectar levels making it easier for bees to survive in that area than near say a great big old corn field.

Caffeinated Hive Building? (2, Interesting)

SevenHands (984677) | about 5 years ago | (#29040263)

I'd be curious what result giving bees caffeinated beverages would have on hive construction. Judging from what the stimulant does to spiders, it'd definitely be an interesting experiment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caffeinated_spiderwebs.jpg [wikipedia.org]

I'd also wonder if it'd give new meaning to the phrase "making a bee line" for something.

What they really need is some.. (1)

Khan (19367) | about 5 years ago | (#29040315)

...BAWLS! That stuff is excellent! That'll jack them right up :)

Yeah....no thanks (1)

fataugie (89032) | about 5 years ago | (#29041029)

Yeah, because that's what I want to do....give bees a good reason to hang out in my backyard.

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