Bee lovers around the world have been sharing photos of the world's pollinators drinking sugar water from spoons after a post on a Facebook page dedicated to the English broadcaster David Attenborough asked fans to work together to save the world’s bees with an extremely simple gesture: offer up a spoonful of sugar.
“This time of year bees can often look like they are dying or dead, however, they're far from it. Bees can become tired and they simply don't have enough energy to return to the hive which can often result in being swept away,” the post read. “If you find a tired bee in your home, a simple solution of sugar and water will help revive an exhausted bee. Simply mix two tablespoons of white, granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water, and place on a spoon for the bee to reach.”The post has even inspired a hashtag #savethebees.
According to ABC News, the suggestion checks out. The best thing people can do is to keep flowering plants in their gardens and avoid pesticides, says the publication. If you choose the sweeter route, bee careful with the type of sugar you use. Specifically, white sugar (sucrose) should be used to supplement honey shortages in the hive and to prevent starvation of colonies, according to the Department of Primary Industries.
Honey bees collect nectar, or sucrose, from flowering plants before storing it in the form of honey for later use in winter and other times when there aren’t flowering plants available. In the process of ripening the nectar, a chemical conversion from sucrose (nectar) to fructose and glucose occurs by an enzyme that naturally occurs in the flower nectar and is added by the bees.
Feeding bees has been touted as a way to help prevent starvation in already fragile honey bee populations.
“In the last five years the bee population has dropped by one-third. If bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humans would have just four years left to live,” it said.
Preventing further declines in bee populations is crucial to protecting global food sources. One in every three bites of food around the world depends on bees who pollinate around 80 percent of the Earth’s flowering plants. In the US alone, the buzzers pollinate as much as 75 percent of fruits, nuts, and veggies.
Around the world bees have been disappearing from colony collapse disorder, a mysterious mass disappearance where healthy bees suddenly abandon their hives, never to return. Other causes of bee decline worldwide include global warming, habitat loss, and parasite infestations.
So, pull up your Mary Poppins pants and go grab a spoonful of sugar to help the bee’s medicine go down.
Note: In an earlier version of the article, we reported Sir David Attenborough as posting the recommendation himself, not his fan page. The page has no connection to Attenborough.