Do bears like honey? After we grow up and away from our favorite childhood cartoons, it’s not unusual to wonder if depictions of certain characteristics of animals are highly exaggerated or even completely false. In the case of bears, it was that they only care to eat honey. But how true is that?
In this guide, we will explore the topic of bear diets and determine whether they are really attracted to honey and beehives.
Do Bears Eat Honey
Watching Winnie the Pooh dip his paws into honey pots left us with the impression that bears are big fans of honey. This must’ve made you ask yourself do bears actually like honey. Well, they do! A. A. Milne took his inspiration from the fact that bears often raid beehives to get to their source of protein.
However, a bear’s diet doesn’t only revolve around honey. Even though they would eat honey any chance they get, bears need to consume other food, such as plants, berries, grain, fish, insects, birds, and mammal meat. Thankfully, human beings are usually excluded from their culinary tastes.
Why Do Bears Eat Honey
Honey is the perfect source of glucose and fructose, which are rapidly broken down by the body. Sugar, calories, and carbohydrates are essential to keep a larger creature robust, so it comes naturally that bears have developed a sweet tooth, considering their heavy build.
Aside from gorging down excessive amounts of honey, bears even eat a lot of the bees and larvae that they stumble across in the hives. That way, they also get their nutritional and protein needs met, apart from the sugar and the calories.
Other than all the benefits, these animals also enjoy the taste of this golden sweet treat. They’ve been known to walk long distances just to find a good source of honey, and when they do, they make sure to eat as much as possible.
Do Bears Get Stung by Bees When Eating Honey
Bears have a high tolerance for natural toxins, making them more resistant to pain than other animals. Their thick hair acts as an additional protective shield against bee stings.
Despite all of this, bears can still get hurt when stung, which can be a painful experience. Like humans, animals are also sometimes allergic to bee stings, and just one bite can be lethal depending on how allergic the animal is.
Although their nature prevents them from getting stung to a large degree, their face, ears, and tongue aren’t well-protected and thus are more susceptible to bee bites.
If you’re still wondering if bears like honey, this will leave you with zero doubts—these animals would rather risk suffering discomfort of a bee sting than missing out on eating honey.
What Type of Bears Eat Honey
Now that we’ve established that bears eat honey, but is it different for certain subspecies? Although nearly all breeds will follow the scent, you’re most likely to find a grizzly or a black bear near a beehive lurking for the next batch of honey.
Brown bears love honey and eat it for its sugar content. As previously mentioned, they also eat the bees, larvae, pupae, and eggs to get their dose of protein in their system.
Black bears are strong and ferocious predators that eat pretty much anything they lay their claws on. So it’s no surprise that these animals will show up and cause damage to your beehive if they are close. Because they are fast and great climbers, they will even clamber up trees to catch that sweet nectar.
How To Protect Hives From Bears
Beekeepers have faced a lot of troubles in the last few years. For instance, the US suffered a severe 2.96 million decline in honey bee colonies, and bear attacks certainly didn’t help. Many people have lost all their hard work due to bears lurking for honey, so it’s essential to take measures to protect beehives from these predators.
One way you can do this is by surrounding your hive with electric fences. A thousand bee stings are nothing compared to an electric shock, so you can rest assured that this method will keep you and your business safe.
Another thing you can try is setting up your beehives in wide-open areas. Bears prefer to stick around in the woods, so avoiding those places is best to minimize your chances of experiencing a bear attack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do bears eat bees?
Bears love honey, but they also don’t shy away from eating bees either. While they get their sugars and calories from the honey itself, bears use these small insects as a great source of protein.
How do bears eat honey without getting stung?
Bears have a great layer of fur to protect them from bee stings, and they also have a high tolerance for toxins, making them more pain resistant than some other animals.
Why do bears like honey so much?
Bigger animals need far more calories and sugar to stay robust, and honey is a glucose and fructose powerhouse, which makes it a great food choice for any bear. Apart from that, they strongly prefer the taste, and let’s be honest, who can really blame them?
So, do bears eat honey? The answer is yes. It’s no myth that bears have a sweet tooth and are often attracted to beehives. These animals are giant creatures, so they need a lot of sugars, carbs, and calories to survive, and luckily honey is filled with them! When you think about it, can anyone really resist good honey?