Honey Bees and Sugar Silutions

Asked December 27, 2016, 4:04 PM EST

Can honey bees detect different amounts of dissolved sugar in a sugar water solution? Also can they detect different amounts of dissolved sugar in natural nectar and given a choice which would they prefer nectar or sugar water?

Washington County Oregon bees

3 Responses

Yes honey bees are capable of detecting sucrose concentrations in both sugar water and nectar. The second part of the question is a bit complex and the answer may vary (depending on the scenario/context). In general honey bees prefer nectar given a choice.

Thank you for your response. A bit more clarity for the second part of the question. Has there ever been any research demonstrating bees preference for nectar over sugar water if they have a two equal choices.

I am not aware of any studies where both nectar and sugar solutions of same concentrations were evaluated (in a choice test) to demonstrate preference.