QCould the decline of bees possibly be from all the hummingbird feeders that people have in their yards? I dont know about everyone else but my hummingbird feeders are always full of dead bees.

Could the decline of bees possibly be from all the hummingbird feeders that people have in their yards? I dont know about everyone else but my hummingbird feeders are always full of dead bees.

AExpert Answer

Hummingbird feeders often contain a sugar solution that is similar to plant nectar. Therefore, bees are attracted to these Hummingbird feeders, because similar to hummingbirds, the sugar/nectar attracts them. There are some hummingbird feeders on the market that are designed to prevent bees, ants, and other insects from getting in.


Bee decline is complex and often misunderstood by the public. Chris Sansone, Global Regulatory Affairs Manager of Insect Resistance Management (Americas), at Bayer, has addressed/explained this topic in great detail.


In response to the question “What is killing our honey bees? Why are there no specific answers to the source of the problem?” Sansone explains the complexity of the honey bee death issue and the processes to how answers/results are developed.


“The honey bee question may be as complex as the genetics question. Thus far experts have agreed that many factors (parasites (Varroa Mite), diseases, stress (movement of hives for pollination services), habitat changes (urban encroachment), inadequate forage or nutrition, pesticide use (both inside the hive and out)) impact honey bee survival (see https://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/colony-collapse-disorder for more detail). Even the genetics of the honey bee are being evaluated (see the story by NPR).”


In another response to a similar question, Sansone explains the history behind this issue and compares it to data available today.


“Doing a simple Internet search for the number of bee colonies leads to many results. One common result of a search is that honeybee colony numbers have declined since their peak, in the 1940s, until now. Honeybee colony numbers peaked during the 1940s for a number of reasons. One important reason was to support the war effort. Sugar was rationed and honey served as an alternative sweetener. Possibly more important, a high percentage of the U.S. population lived in the country, where maintaining a bee colony was easier. As the population moved to the city and suburbs, keeping bee colonies was not as convenient or important.


Using more current and reliable data shows that honeybee numbers have stabilized in the United States and are increasing in Canada and Europe: 


So while a number of factors play a role in bee numbers, beekeepers have done a remarkable job stabilizing the numbers and even growing populations. People outside of beekeeping can also be part of the solution, by providing food resources for bees. See http://feedabee.com for more information on honeybees and methods to help.”


Posted on July 4, 2018
Thank you for your questions, we will address each question separately below. How is a transgenic organism or GMO created? When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering. It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant they want to improve, as well as make... Read More
Posted on May 7, 2018
Hi and thanks for the question! I think you may have been inspired by recent reports on the discovery of the human gene PDE10A. This gene helps the Bajau people (a marine hunter-gatherer people living in southeast Asia) dive deeper and for greater duration. This genetic adaption increases the size of their spleen, which helps the Bajau perform in low-oxygen environments. At the same time, new techniques for editing DNA (of all organisms) has many people excited about curing human genetic... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2018
Believe it or not, I jump at opportunities to talk about aquatic life, so thank you for your interest. I developed a passion for aquatic animals early on and remain grateful that I have managed to explore my passions in ecotoxicology for over 25 years! This is a very general question in terms of pesticide/herbicide options that are commercially available and as well as applications. I will focus on glyphosate and dicamba specifically. Two active ingredients in herbicidal formulations that... Read More

Explore More Topics