All species of bears will feast on honey every chance they get. As one of the largest omnivores in the world, the bear’s diet is very diverse. While these animals prefer honey to any other type of food, they will feast on grasses, berries, fish, insects, and young mammals, such as deer, elk, and caribou. They require a specific amount of protein to stay healthy and survive in the wild. So, why do bears like honey?
Experts believe that it is only natural for bears to like honey because bears eat bees that make honey. When a bear raids a beehive, the animal will consume the honey, bees, and larvae.
It is more common for black and brown bears to raid honey beehives.
Do Bears Eat Honey
Some animals are just drawn to sweet-tasting foods, which is why they enjoy eating honey. Honey is rich in glucose and fructose. Both of these sugars are broken down rapidly by the body.
When bears raid honeybee hives, they remove the honeycomb frames to a location as far away from the bees as possible. They will devour the honey and bee larva until their stomach feels full.
In this article, you already learned that bears really do like honey. This isn’t just some myth that storytellers or cartoon experts dreamed up. Bears do and will eat honey whenever the chance presents itself.
That being said, you probably already know that bees are producers of honey. If bears want to find honey hives in the wilderness they will have to encounter bees. Bees and wasps both have stingers that they use to fend off attackers.
Despite this fact, there are still a number of animals like skunks, frogs, spiders, cats, and dogs that will still try to consume bees. Bears even eat bees by accident when they are trying to get to their honey.
In most cases, bears don’t even feel the stings from these bees because their fur and coat are so thick.
Bees will, however, sometimes sting bears in the mouth when they accidentally ingest them. When situations like this occur bears usually don’t mind because they are just happy to be eating one of their favorite snacks.
Another thing that should be noted is that animals can have allergic reactions to bee stings just like humans can. These reactions could not only potentially be dangerous, but they could be lethal is the animal is allergic enough.
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Protecting Hives From Bears
You can already see that bears are attracted to honey. Unfortunately, this can pose major problems for many beekeepers that are located in areas with a bear population. Bears will find the hives and pounce causing the beekeeper to lose all of his or her hard work.
You might even be surprised to learn that this is a fairly common occurrence and this is why more and more beekeepers are opting to surround their hives with electric fences.
Sometimes this is enough to dissuade the bear from attacking the hive. Sometimes it isn’t. It really depends on the hunger of the bear. If the bear is overly hungry, you can rest assured that they will probably attack. A little jolt of electricity of nothing compared to thousands of bee stings.
Since bears can be so persistent many beekeepers have opted to keep their hives in areas away from the normal route of the animal. Bears tend to stick towards the woods where they are covered, so placing hives in wide-open areas are great ways to dissuade bears from attacking.
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Do Bears Get Stung By Bees
As mentioned above, there is a good chance that bears are going to get stung at some point. In fact, they’re going to eat bees from time to time. For a different animal, this would be a problem.
For bears, it isn’t a problem at all. They are equipped with a shield thanks to their thick hair and skin. This allows them to deal with the bee stings without any problems whatsoever.
In nature, there are many sweet treats that are toxic. This can create a problem for animals. The good news is that some sweets aren’t toxic. Animals in nature are going to find out this on their own. This is why they prefer eating honey.
They know that honey isn’t toxic. They might encourage bees but they won’t have to worry about the toxicity. Honey has a sweet taste and it is crammed full of sugar. Is it any wonder bears love honey?
The Polar Bear Diet
As mentioned above, brown and black bears raid beehives more often than any other species of bear. Bears living in subarctic climates do not have access to beehives. This is because the winter weather in these areas is too harsh for honeybee survival.
However, there are a few bees living in subarctic climates. These bees generally do not live in hives or produce honey. According to research, the bees living in these areas are “more solitary in nature”.
Bears living in subarctic climates include the brown, polar, grizzly, and black bears. Polar bears generally do not have access to honeybees and their hives. The polar diet is mostly made up of meat and fat from marine mammals, such as seals.
The Grizzly Bear Diet
Grizzly bears live in subarctic climates. They can be found in western Canada and Alaska along streams, rivers, lakes, and in caves. The grizzly bear diet consists of insects, fish, meat, berries, and plants.
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What Do Else Do They Eat
Many people believe that bears are only going to eat honey. This isn’t the case. They’re going to eat a handful of other items too. For instance, they’ll eat berries, grasses, roots, and even small insects. Grizzly bears will eat rodents and fish too. However, it should be noted that bears are adaptable. They can eat different things depending on their environment and their needs.
At the end of the day, bears love sweets. They’re going to do everything possible to obtain delicious sweets. Sometimes, they’ll end up eating bees to get it. Either way, it is the allure of the sweet taste that drives them. This is why they’re going to eat honey.
They can smell and taste the sweetness coming from the honey. Plus, this food doesn’t have any toxicity. Therefore, the taste of honey is just too much to pass by.