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Are Bees Fussy Eaters?


I noticed that when my bees leave the hive they launch straight up like a NASA rocket and disappear over the roof of my shed or the neighbors shed and go foraging god knows where and I’m guessing that was because there was nothing flowering on my property.

I’ve got over 30 metres of large Murrayas (Mock Orange) along the boundary fence, as close as 2 metres from the hive and in direct sight of it and now flowering prolificly, with a nice citrus smell in the air. But not a single bee to be seen anywhere near them, I thought they’d be all over them and in their own back yards as well.

Are they just too fussy and have tastier pickings elsewhere, or don’t they like certain flowers? :confused:



I know bees do go for the Mock Orange but apparently at the moment there tasty buds are on another’s nectar source. It might be yours in not ready or past ready possible too. As long as they are bring in nectar n pollen don’t worry.

With time n observing more you’ll get to know what they hauling in. Watch them careful as you have time n know what else might be forage is helpful at determining what they are laying up.

Bees do forage up to 2 or 3 miles away when things are on the lean side but it sounds like that not the issue. They are like us. They know what they want n like at the moment. A few days later yours might be their target.

Cheers n happy beekeeping. We having fun learning yet ? :blush::honeybee:. Gerald


Hi Gerald thanks for the comment, its certainly interesting and intriguing watching them and working out how they live and work. Pity there isn’t a tracker available to glue on their back and see where they head off to.
Cheers mate. :slight_smile:


Bees are able to determine the amount of sugar in different nectar sources. They will collect the richest nectar and ignore poorer sources, for example if an apple orchard has dandelions growing in it they will target the dandelions and ignore the apples.

You might find a good book about beekeeping helpful - this is common knowledge, as are most of the questions asked here.


Important nectar source here and they draw bright yellow comb on it.


Mock orange? What’s wrong with real orange? I know which I’d rather.
We’ve been lucky in a way in that we have two three colonies here, a weak one, a strong one and a wild one. It’s really interesting watching the different colonies and their different tastes or needs. The wild hive in a tree are pollen collectors, the weak hive is 50/50 and the strong hive is predominantly nectar.
Not sure why this is and this is bases on my observations only.
So yeah I think they are fussy but only on a need basis.


Pollen is protein to rear brood.
So theoretically they should collect pollen for the needs of the brood or brood to be.
However, it is not uncommon for queen-less foragers to pack the frames with pollen if it is there to be had.


Bees are odd. They are creatures of habit. Or maybe it’s loyalty? They will pick the richest source of nectar at the time and then work it until it runs out even if a richer one pops up…


Hmmm, I wonder if von Frisch wrote about that? Could a dance depicting the nectar source create a sort of “permanent memory” for a bee once it has visited the source a couple of times? Maybe it doesn’t even pay any attention to other dances until the first source is exhausted? Sounds like a working hypothesis, but I bet somebody somewhere has studied it.


It’s the power of cosmic habit force…


Ah, the Force is with them. Well as long as the Ley Lines and Vortices don’t interfere with that for bees in New Mexico! :smile:

Actually, I hadn’t realized that bees could read. If they are using cosmic habit force, they must have read Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Science of Personal Achievement” :joy:


Nah… I guess they didn’t, but I read it back in 1972 and the concept of the power of habit was intriguing…

Bees are creatures of habit… like a lot of creatures…


Actually I didn’t remember who wrote it and had no idea he was famous… the book was in the apartment I lived in when I moved in…


I believe that bees will leave a rich source of nectar for a better, richer source of nectar. It takes time. It’s all to do with the waggle dance. If a bee sees a waggle dance more impressive than the one she has been performing, I believe she will leave the nectar source she was on & go for the better one. It goes to show how efficient the bees communication system is.

Another reason why a bee would leave one nectar source for another one would be if it’s closer.

It’s all about efficiency & good economical use of fuel which benefits the hive overall.