URGENT: Should I resume feeding bees the sugar water I was distributing if they are now dying?

Asked August 17, 2018, 7:26 AM EDT

This is a bit of a cheat, because I'm not in Colorado, but I figure this is a general enough question to apply to any location...and there is no help listed for anyone in Europe.
I am living in Germany and started to give honey bees visiting my windowsill sugar water. I did this for about 2 weeks than realized that it wasn't a healthy thing for them. I gave plain, filtered water yesterday but became concerned that they might be starting to build a hive in my sill, so removed the water entirely today. We can't have a hive at this location because they are coming into the apartment through the window.
However, today they are still searching around for the water (of course) and I am seeing dead bees on the windowsill. I am in a total panic! Should I resume giving them water/sugar water or just leave them alone? I feel terrible. I never meant to hurt them and now I don't know what to do. The weather is very hot here and I'm afraid they became overly dependent on my sugar water as a food source. Please advise me.

Thanks so much,
Starla Crick

Colorado bees

1 Response

Hi Starla,
Thanks for your question. First, if they were building a nest in your window sill, you would be visited by literally thousands of honey bees. A few visiting your window sill are searching for either nectar or water.

As far as supplemental feeding of sugar water, this is a normal practice for beekeepers. We have experienced a severe drought in my portion of Colorado that I fed my hives much later in the year than normal. I supply supplemental water year-round for my bees as well.

For your situation, supplying sugar water will attract both honey bees and likely yellowjackets, which are not well-behaved in Colorado. I would recommend supplying water as a means of supplementing all the pollinators (birds, beneficial insects, and honey bees).

I hope this is helpful!
Kurt