Frequently Asked Questions...
Should you give sugar water to bees?
People have used sugar water to revive tired bees they find in their garden for years.
(Bee keepers often feed their bees on a sugar & water syrup when wild nectar is not available.)
The RSPB advises specifically that a small amount of sugar water can help bees if they are struggling:
The small amount (under 5ml in each foot) of sugar water that the Bee Station holds is not a diet replacement for bees, nor will it attract bees away from natural nectar or flowers. The Bee Station is a last resort recovery site for very tired bees. A small amount of sugar water might just give them the energy to get home or to pollinate for a few extra hours.
Will the Bee Station attract bees away from flowers / natural nectar sources?
No. Bees will always go for flowers over artificial nectar.
The Bee Station is a last resort recovery site for very tired bees.
A design solution better than an egg-cup or saucer containing sugar water which
concerned gardeners have used for years to revive struggling bees:
Isn't the best way to help bees to plant more wild flowers?
Yes. Bees rely on natural nectar (which is vital for honey crops too.) The Bee Station comes with a pack of wild flower seeds (bee's favourites) to help attract them to your garden. The Bee Station is a last resort recovery site for very tired bees and is most useful in very early Spring and late Autumn / Fall when there aren't many flowers around. The Bee Station can also be used as a suitable nesting site if you wish to give certain species of bee a safe, dry spot to stay.
Can bees or other insects drown in the Bee Station?
In all our tests we have never seen a drowned bee. The Bee Station only holds a very small amount of sugar water, under 5ml, in each foot. There is also a small platform in the centre of the base for bees to stand upon. You may attract other insects into the Bee Station and as with anything else you may have in the garden with liquid in (bird bath, hummingbird feeder, butterfly feeder) there is the potential for insects to fall in. Saying this, tests have shown very few problems.
If I choose to use the Bee Station as a nesting site, will I definitely get bees nesting?
Bees are getting fewer in number in many countries. If you use the Bee Station as a potential nesting site for bees, you will be lucky for them to choose your particular Bee Station as their preferred site. Saying this, planting the wild flower seeds you get with your Bee Station will certainly help attract bees. It is worth remembering that the Bee Station would only serve certain species of bees as a nesting spot and being wild creatures, they will just as likely choose a lawnmower box or a dry spot under your shed to nest in (they like the shade so try and situate your Bee Station out of direct sunlight.) If you put a Bee Station in your garden, you're providing a safe, dry spot in your garden for bees to nest in and surrounding it with their favourite food (natural nectar from the wild flowers that come with the Bee Station.) That gives you a better chance than most doesn't it!?
Could the Bee Station spread disease among bees?
The Bee Station holds a small amount (5ml in each foot) of sugar water and as such there is always the potential for a diseased bee to use the Bee Station and leave behind unwelcome bacteria. (This is also the case for hummingbird feeders and butterfly feeders which also attract bees.) However, the Bee Station is ceramic and as such can be washed with boiling water or put in a dishwasher to help keep it clean. If you are using the Bee Station as a refuelling site, we recommend cleaning it and replacing the sugar water every week or two.
Could Mosquitoes lay eggs in the Bee Station?
The Bee Station only holds a small amount (5ml in each foot) of sugar water so compared to all the other places mosquitoes can lay eggs (basically anywhere with standing water, e.g. every puddle, swamp or stagnant part of every river or lake) you'd have to be pretty unlucky to get mosquitoes laying eggs in your Bee Station! We do recommend cleaning your Bee Station and replacing the sugar water every week or two regardless.
Does the sugar water in the Bee Station ferment?
If you are using the Bee Station as a refuelling site, we recommend cleaning it in boiling water and replacing the sugar water every week or two.