Hungry honey bees visiting bird feeders

Honey bees take advantage of any food source after a long, cold winter, including bird feeders.

Honey bees forage for food in a bird feeder somewhere in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula. Photo credit: Debra Alexander

Honey bees forage for food in a bird feeder somewhere in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula. Photo credit: Debra Alexander

A concerned homeowner sent me this photograph of dozens of honey bees foraging on cracked corn in her bird feeder. Even though corn is not typical food for honey bees, they commonly will take advantage of any food source when the weather first breaks in the spring. Our daytime temperatures over the past week or so were high enough to allow bees to fly and search for food, but with no flowers available they feed on whatever they can find.

The bees collect the pollen-sized seed dust particles and yeast that are found in the cracked corn and other seeds we set out for our little feathered friend for which, I’m sure, the bees are extremely grateful. The bees will move on to their preferred food sources as spring flowers begin to appear. 

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