Correction: An earlier title to this article claimed that ‘Sir David Attenborough Urges Everyone to leave a spoonful of sugar and water in their garden to save humanity’ This is infact false. It is a made up quote that the BBC has demanded be retracted as it could result in harm to bees. While the advice was purportedly intended to help struggling bees, experts warn that spoon feeding sugar to bees can actually reduce pollination, which is essential to the world’s food supply.
Many people see a bee and immediately feel fear because they are afraid of being stung, yet they essentially keep all of humanity alive.
We don’t even have to parade ourselves as tree huggers to truly care about the environment, considering what human beings have done to the planet for the last 2 million years, bringing species to mass extinction, we have no choice.
The excuse that we didn’t know better no longer stands, we are being educated on the daily about how we are harming the planet, yet many refuse to change.
Without bees, we would cease to exist and the reasoning is pretty simple – bees pollinate flowers and when one says this, don’t take it lightly – they are responsible for over 90% of food production.
Because of our love for bees many people have been sharing articles about how leaving a teaspoon of sugar water in a convenient spot for bees in your garden act acts as a refilling station for when they’re tired. Well this is in fact NOT TRUE. And this is why:
Nature-lovers duped by this fake information post could end up with thousands of bees descending on their property.
The bees that discover the sugar water are likely to go back to the hive and recruit more bees to come to the source of easy food,
And this quick-fix for the bees can actually be devastating for the hive.
Where a teaspoon of sugar can help revive a single collapsed bee, by leaving a readily available sugar water solution is the equivalent of mass feeding the insects junk food. Its full of carbohydrates which will give them an energy burst, but has no other nutritional value unlike the food they should be having
It will not feed the growing larvae when it is taken back to the hive.
And because the sugar water is easier to get, they will flock to the solution rather than forage for nectar.
Honey bees will end up storing this as honey in the hive.
A trickle-down effect on the supply chain means the beekeeper unknowingly may end up extracting and selling this as honey later in the year.
People don’t want to buy sugar syrup when and there is the potential a beekeeper could be prosecuted for selling a product which isn’t honey.
A spokesperson for the RSPB said: “It’s a nice thing to do and it makes people feel good about themselves, but it’s only a short term solution for a bee. “You’re giving it a sugar buzz, but what they really need is nectar.
“What people can do to help is plant flowers that flower all year round.
“We would not advise leaving out sugar and water as bees will go to this rather than a flower because it is easier and then flowers are not being pollinated.”
How can we help the bees?
By all means if you spot a tired bee give a tired bee a drink of sugar water on a spoon, but don’t leave it out readily for them.
Plant nectar rich plants
Leave out bowls of water with gravel/small pebbles for them to drink
DO NOT FEED BEES HONEY – they don’t eat it and can spread disease which would mean certain death for a bee colony and likely many more hives in the vicinity