Why do bees keep swarming on my hummingbird feeder?

The first time I thought it was an anomaly. But now it’s a regular occurance. It’s a little chill here in AZ for bees, and they’re stupid slow, but I need to know how to make this stop happening. Any ideas what’s going on and how to stop it?

They like the sweet nectar the same as Hummingbirds.

True, I can see that, but I have been feeding the hummers for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen this before.

New highway in your area? Or factory? Or strip mall? Has it been unusually cold enough or dry enough to kill the local flowers? Sounds like their previous food source is now gone, and they’re looking to augment their honey supply with your sugar water.

No, nothing like that. We’ve had a dry and relatively warm winter, actually we’re in the high 70’s right now. It’s Arizona, there’re no flowers to speak of right now, so I am perplexed and have google searched to no avail. A friend suggested what I think you are suggesting, that a hive had been disturbed, but unless there is construction higher on the mountain I live on than I can see, I know of nothing.

How much scope do you have for moving the feeder?

Once a bee finds a good source of food, it tells all the other bees in the hive about it and as long a the food supply holds out, the message to the rest of the foraging bees will continue to be reinforced. Moving the feeder 50 yards perpendicular to the direction of the hive might break the cycle.

Or get a bee-proof feeder (apparently they exist) and install this - maybe keep the existing one for feeding bees - they’re in decline in a lot of places and probably need the help.

I think that might be your answer. No flowers means no nectar.

Yep, sounds like a hive moved (for whatever reason) and happened upon your feeder full of sugary goodness. I vote (as if I get a vote in your business) for letting them share with the hummingbirds. Bees are some of the best, and some cases only, pollenators out there. We need more bees!

They’re sweet seekers.

Bees love sugar. I often fed mine sugar water during the winter if the hive was weak or also as a vector for various bee medications. I’d buy broken bags of sugar from various businesses or when stores had sugar as a loss leader, and mix syrup to feed.

Bees also get very anxious to get out of their hives during the winter to “void.” I used to see my bees flying around on warm winter days when there was still snow on the ground; a very odd sight.

Moving the feeder and changing the color of the feeder are your only hope. I’ve read accounts of bee apiaries near sugar refineries. It didn’t work out well.

I had to get rid of my hummingbird feeders for this reason, and that was high summer in Indiana when there should’ve been plenty of flowers etc for the bees. There would be so many bees on the feeders they’d be…sort of dripping off in big clumps. It was kind of creepy.
I researched and asked a lot of questions and finally gave up and just planted more hummingbird-friendly flowers.

Yes, exactly that, and I have a total of 3 feeders and have for years, but this is a first, and they only come to the one. Which I would allow them to do, but it’s right outside the back door!The freeloading hummers won’t come near it when it’s covered with bees, and since I’ve been doing this so long, I have regulars, and some I think should be leaving in our winter, but stay for a reliable food source. Guess I’ll try moving it, dammit, shouldn’t the bees be hibernating or something?

Bee are on the what now?

Did you read my post?

I did, I don’t get the “void” part, but I assume they’re just anxious to get out, it’s been very warm, almost 15 degrees above the norm.

So I guess we move it.

Oh, gosh, just came to me–you mean bees pee!!!

Yep. Maybe, in the interest of science, you should dab some on your tongue. Their vomit is pretty tasty after all.

It’s too warm and so the bees are leaving the hive in droves looking for food. The only thing around is your humming bird feeder so there you go.

I had this happen with my bees before and it didn’t bode well. I think it was two years ago that we reached temperatures of 80 degrees in late February/early March (Denver). All my bees woke up, came out looking for food and water, found none and died of starvation. I could have fed them, but typically when I feed them in the spring they tend to swarm so I usually try to avoid it.

This is one of the problems with the changes to the climate we have had over the last couple of decades. Warmer and earlier springs are waking bees and other pollinators, but the typically native flowers are lagging this change. On the plus size it is possible to grow plants here that I couldn’t 20 years ago.

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