Honey Bee and Wasp Sugar Water Preferences Open Feeding What Bees Use First


okay so today is Friday the 13th in
October and what we have is an abundance of foraging bees and wasps in the air
and the resources are low so competition is high now what a lot of beekeepers do
is they open feed and they open feed a variety of different materials the most
popular is 50/50 sugar water and sugar like C&H pure cane sugar and what I have
here for this test and you’re looking at the time-lapse sequence here 50% so
that’s the 50/50 sugar water all the way to the right and this is by volume 25%
second from the right and 10% second from the left and 5% sugar water all the
way to the left and the water resource is the pure P U R filtered water that
we talked about before in the last test and turned out to be the water that was
preferred by the bees so this four minute time lapse sequence shows that
the bees really pile on the twenty five and fifty percent sugar water now sugar
and water together just provides the carbohydrate that the bees need to have
the energy to warm the hive and to forage of course
so by open feeding what we’re doing is we’re giving something for those
foragers to do plus they are bringing resources to the hive and they won’t be
attacking other colonies of honeybees hopefully if there were no resources in
the environment and as you can see in the background there the corn is dry and
ready for harvest there are very few flowering plants left so the stronger
colonies tend to converge on weaker colonies and raid them out and take
their resources so by open feeding you do two things you give those foragers
something to do and get their energy away from weaker colonies that may be
robbed out and you provide resources that will help them keep their hives
warm now the more water percentage there is compared to the sugar the more
dehydrating they have to do so once the imitation nectar here is taken into the
hive the bees have to dry it out and
condense it so that it becomes honey now you want to do this open feeding well
after you’ve taken honey off of your hives because you obviously don’t want
to be taking sugar water honey off as a resource for your own consumption so do
this after you’ve done your last harvest and so as you can see here the 50% 25%
are equally consumed by the bees they are just taking it down now I wish it
were backlit better so that you could see right now they’re down by 1/3 what
goes on is the bees are taking this all off in just a day so the entire cycle of
what you’re seeing in this video happens within a 24 hour period and the
time-lapse sequence is what I’m starting off with but if you’ll continue watching
I’ll get over some close-ups of the bees and some more discussion about what
other insects come to these feeders and again we’re using highly filtered water
this is from a well because my house is on a well so that’s pre filtered and
then I use the PUR filters that we get from Amazon I’ll put a link for that
in the video description I’ll also put a link to these drinkers that I use these
are 1 quart plastic drinkers and that’ll also be in the video description now what happened during the day of
course it warms up we started this sequence right after sunrise and the
bees of course the activity picks up after noon most foraging occurs late
morning early afternoon and here we are in the final sequences 10% 25% and 50%
are completely empty now and you notice that they’re concentrated all the way to
the left and look what is predominantly present here these are all wasps for the
most part the honeybees have already gone into their colonies for nighttime
protection and the wasps continue to forage well after sunset now for those of you who want to know
the exact weather conditions I decided to take a picture of my weather station
here and the sensor for wind we’re at 4 miles an hour we have 74 degrees outside
and 67% average humidity rainfall of course has been light for the whole
month we only have three point four four inches so this gives you kind of a base
for when I started and did this test I guess I could also if you’re interested
in this weather station I’ll put a link to that I got it on Amazon now for the
time lapse sequences I use the GoPro Hero 5 I just had that thing up on a
tripod right in front of all four the drinkers and set it for a shot every 5
seconds so here we are first one is 5 percent 5 percent sugar to water by
volume and if you notice the honeybees really didn’t care too much for that
overall we went to 10 percent they did show moderate interest in this but so
long as 25 percent and 50 percent sugar to water ratio was made available they
really heavily concentrated on that and here you see a mix of the honeybees
which are from my apiary I know some people get concerned and have made
comments in the past when I open feed that bees are coming from other apiaries
and we’re mixing potential varroa mites and things like that
well my bees are isolated we are at least five miles from the nearest
beekeeper in my area so for me open feeding number one I’m not wasting my
resources feeding other people’s bees and number two I’m really not that
concerned about contagions passing back and forth bee to bee while they’re
concentrated at these drinkers and this just shows again the GoPros setup so
here they are they’re concentrating to the Yellowjackets here in the foreground
lining up and now Yellowjackets even though they do raid beehives when
they’re all at an area like this where there’s an abundant resource they
congregate without attacking each other the exception to that though is and
you’ll see them in here see that bald-faced hornet which is really a
wasp but she’s on the right there kind of in the middle of the pack they show
up for nectar resources which is the sugar water but they’re also here to
attack kill and fly away with some of the smaller wasps they don’t seem to be
very successful against the honeybees but they are definitely here as dual
purpose predators one for the nectar and the second is to get some protein by
capturing a smaller wasp tearing it apart and bringing that back
to their nest site so by sunset this future percent sugar water was basically
empty and twenty five percent went down pretty much at the exact same rate I
think during this sequence we do still have some of the water in those
reservoirs and you can still see as the sun’s back lit twenty-five and fifty
percent are at fifty percent and the ten and five percent are down by about 20
percent now bees have to drink their food any
insect that you see that has that thorax and then the very thread thin
connection between the thorax and the abdomen meat protein isn’t gonna pass
through that so they can only drink now insects of different styles can handle
thicker liquid than others I hope some of you enjoyed those
slow-motion sequences they are a lower-resolution of course we will
improve on those at another time but these are cool in slow motion and here
we are again we’re just gonna continue to show the bees and wasps kind of
cooperating here at the drinkers now if you look closely there are a
variety of wasp species here and the ones when you see their abdomens and
they’ve got the yellow and black stripes going across them now we’re going into
nighttime so even though the video looks well lit this is actually after sunset
so what’s left at the feeders wasps so and wasps are not all the same I have
to tell you that you know like mud dobbers and some of the smaller
Yellowjackets woodland Yellowjackets they are pretty gentle to be around but
what we’re looking at here this nice large black and white one is what’s
known as a bald-faced hornet now they’re really just a wasp themselves but they
are really at the top of the food chain when it comes to wasps in our area and
some of them are here licking up the sugar water that’s remaining if you
notice all of these reservoirs are empty except for the 5% sugar water by now and
these boldface Hornets if you’ve seen my other videos I am NOT a fan of these
wasps they are really aggressive they can fly at night they navigate at night
they can squirt venom in your eyes they are just I don’t know what to say they
are a very very defensive and capable flying stinging insect and the cool
thing is here now that we’re after sunset and most of the honeybees have
gone to their hives you get to see on these reservoirs all these different
varieties of wasps and some of these again they’ve come from the woods some
of them are meadow some of them come from ground nests and
others are paper wasps there’s a honey bee real quick they’re like look at this
curious looking Los long and slender and they’re pretty docile I’m close to these
things they don’t have any protection on and they’re just pretty passive at this
point of course it’s cooling down it’s nighttime there’s a honey bee there on
the left but again as I said most of the honey bees have gone there’s a bee fly
there right in front of us that’s an imitator now I’m showing you my
bug-zooka this is what I use to collect sometimes Yellowjackets if they’re
really getting pesky I’m trying to work the bees but tonight
you know I just can’t let these boldface Hornets go so I’m gonna have to go after
them these are Yellow Jackets these are not my target species right now but I am
collecting bald faced Hornet so that I can look at them up close the bug-zooka
lets you catch things alive if you get something that you don’t want to kill
you can release it later after observation and for me in my case I can
photograph them but look at these different wasp species they’re really
interesting five percent the only thing that’s left
to drink from and you can see the honeybees are
congregated there to the right side of the screen these bees are staying kind
of grouped together and they’re gonna stay on these feeders overnight which is
interesting too now look at these boldface Hornets I
just can’t let him sit there look there you go taking them out with my bug-zooka
oh there’s another one she’s aggressive just you know they’re not like any other
wasp goodbye and these are what I would call you know passive friendly wasps
here those of you know your wasp species very well could chime in in the comment
section and share with all of us again it’s it’s fairly dark now don’t be
fooled by the exposure of the video camera that I’m using which makes it
look well lit we are well past sunset and of course these honey bees have
moved up underneath this brick to protect themselves from heavy dew and of
course the cold temps overnight in the morning they’ll find their way back to
their hives another bald-faced hornet got that one and there’s a bald-faced
hornet if you’ve ever had an encounter with bald-faced hornet so you know
exactly what I’m talking about they come at you like nothing else just look at
her going after all the other wasps that are just there to drink she is not a
friendly wasp when it comes to the drinking hole here yeah got you too! so we’re putting away
everything packing up the GoPro and of course here’s a little wasp on it very
timid you know we’re out here we’re not at their nest so keep in mind wasps when
they’re out of the feeding space are not defending that site so they’re very easy
to approach and here’s my collection for the evening a bald-faced hornet so i’m
gonna take these back and get some close-up photographs of them and again
my least favorite wasp I’ll put a link to the bug-zooka – if you’re interested
in that now here we are this is the following morning actually right at
sunrise it’s cold and it’s rainy and who’s out flying around the Yellow
Jackets Yellow Jackets have a huge advantage over the honeybee they fly in
colder temperatures I’ve seen Yellow Jackets flying around in 38 degrees
Fahrenheit and they are able to gather resources before the honeybees are even
out and about and if you look at the ones that have the abdomens with the
independent dots on left and right going down the back that’s a queen so this
time of year a lot of the Yellowjackets that are going out and about are the
newly hatched Queens that are gonna hope to winner over here because the
temperatures are getting colder and they’ll be the ones that will establish
new colonies in the spring of next year so they are definitely hungry for
carbohydrates thank you for watching this video I hope you got something out
of it and I hope you enjoyed seeing these wasps up close and what sugar
preferences the bees and wasps have thanks again

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27 thoughts on “Honey Bee and Wasp Sugar Water Preferences Open Feeding What Bees Use First

  1. My question is how does the lower sugar concentration water that the bees consume, how does it affect the quality of the honey they produce for food stuffs that they create. There must be a downside to the lower content of sugar.

  2. If the bald- faced hornets go at you like nothing else, why didn't they? I am saddened by the hostility toward these misunderstood creatures. I hope you released them after photographing them, but I fear the worst. But thank you for the wonderful lesson and video.

  3. Just say it, Bald Faced Hornets are just EVIL! šŸ™‚ I guess my question for this video may not be easily answered, but how do you decide when to feed the bees, for how long, and do you always use a higher sugar solution? Thank you, Mr. Dunn for another educational video. I really enjoy these.

  4. That wasp 8:32 was very cool it was black and white?

    Also you asked about my spiders they are in 14.2 liter tubs with substrate and I use plumbing elbows as hides. For the ones that need more humidity I spray them down but there are misting systems if you really want to be pro about it.

  5. I always wondered what's the difference between the honey made primarily from sugar water in comparison with the one made from flower polen.
    Also, do wasps make honey too?

  6. Thanks for posting this video. In addition to the baldfaced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata), I also see several workers and a male of the yellow jacket Vespula vidua, at least one worker of Vespula maculifrons (and a male sitting on the GoPro!) and Vespula flavopilosa, and lots of Vespula germanica workers, and the paper wasps including the brown Polistes fuscatus ( nearly all males) and the yellow marked Polistes dominula (both males and females). The early morning visitors were workers of V. germanica (and NOT queens)–they are simply larger and with a more developed color pattern than the smaller, darker workers of the native species V. maculifrons. Queens of V. maculifrons usually do have the black spots on a yellowish background, but they have a somewhat different pattern and they are even larger than the V. germanica workers (whose queens are even still larger). For all species the males are stingless and as mentioned the females aren't defensive when foraging away from their nests (but will sting if actually grabbed or confined against the skin).

  7. Another great video Fred! Still jealous of your nice temperatures. It was 92 today. Broke 134 year record! I have forgotten what a fall is like. I think I might need to get a bazooka for my carpenter bees here. I had to take measures on my house, but I let them take the shed. Will the honey bees be able to take care of them?

  8. Is not common that insects loves sugar or sugar based meals. Sugar itself have diamond shaped molecules that are hard for microorganisms, bacterias and even maybe virus to pass througth. By adding more sugar onto water you are adding extra layers of proteccion for the exoskeletons for bees, wasps, hornets and ants. Also sugar is excellent for not spoiling the elements so probably the bees are taking some of the 50% water to the nest too.

  9. I was taught that bees will not store less than 2 to 1 sugar to water. That they will use less ratio in everyday activities. But not store it.

  10. I love to observe living things and the way you put these videos together is superb. The narrative, music and videography is just stunning. Thank you for these, they are a real treasure.

  11. Very nice as always. Here on my property we have these rapidly reproducing reddish black wasps. They pop up with new nests every other day, but they're oddly docile. They swarm around my house and nest in the garage but dont seem to mind me coming inches close with a camera.

  12. Mr. Dunn. I have seen enough videos of beekeeping and care related video as far as the hive itself. What I do not see is WHERE these resources come from. Native honeysuckle? Camellia? Daylily? Roses? What kind of fauna interest the honeybees and how would you grow a garden designed specifically for honeybees? What plants have maximum nectar and pollen producing capability? How will planting specific plants affect honey taste? Please help me build this library. Especially in native plants that the bees will utilize for maximum health of the colony and then impact US as people acquiring what they produce. Please emphasize the non use of plastic honeycomb frame. These frames are made from various chemical compounds that are carcinogenicĀ to humans. If the carcinogenic particulate bleeds into the wax it bleeds into the honey. Do not feed humans or bees carcinogenic pathogens. Honeybees are capable of producing their home as they see fit. In addition you recieve wax they would not have created due to carcinogenic frames that make bees stupid. Let them draw their comb the way it is supposed to be if you choose to do this thing then together, with the power of the Honeybee, we can conquer the evil emperor and rule the Honeybee Garden as Beekeeper and Beekeeper! Naturally IĀ have madeĀ a playlist designed specifically for Honeybee Gardening and will add them as you provide the work. Wait for me on the command ship Lord Honeybee. It is proceeding according to MY plan.

  13. Hey Frederick, I always enjoy watching your videos and have learned alot for education and general enjoyment of bee life. I'm curious about how you feel about using ascorbic acid (vitamin C) with sugar water to bring the pH closer to natural nectar. Obviously your bees are strong and have less problems with disease, but curious if it is worth the extra effort. Thanks!

  14. Thank you so much for your sweat, hard work, knowledge and amazing talent. I am so grateful and blessed.

  15. Thanks for the great video! Really interesting. I live in a small town in England and have recently started leaving 50% sugar water in my garden. It was primarily to keep wasps out of the house and they love it! If bees take the water back to their hives to make honey, what do the wasps do with it? Do they just consume it for nourishment?

  16. Can we add a nutrient electrolyte to the water? Would that help keep them healthy? does real nectar have nutrients in them?

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