My neighbor, a world-class beekeeper whose honey sells to many specialty markets and also Whole Foods, told me today honeybees in backyard hives in our East Bay communities are hungry. He has put out two five-gallon cans of sugar water to feed his bees.


I drain two frames at a time in a five-gallon bucket

A frames of honey in a five-gallon bucket



Interestingly, I’ve noted bees at my hummingbird feeders also usurping the sugar water meant for the hummingbirds.



The honeybees do not make honey from sugar water. They just consume it to have energy to forage for pollen and to cool the hives on hot days. The drought means people are watering less; flower gardens and local landscape are dry, and in places the clay soil is cracking open. Bad news for bees.



Weatherwise, it’s been triple-digit hot and then cold and cloudy. I guess the bees will adapt but old timers say, “A swarm in July means bees go bye-bye.” This isn’t the right time for swarming.



My hived bees are loud and energetic.  The bees faked me out with a small swarm about ten days ago and then returned to the hive; and now they are eating sugar water for energy to gather what pollen they can find to make honey. The honey will see the hungry hive through until the star thistle and the fall eucalyptus blooms. I’m torn between letting my bee-loving flowers dry up to conserve water, but I don’t want to lose my bees.



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