Bees collect pollen from a blossoming sunflower in a field.

Feeding sugar water to bees will kill them

FactCheck July 18, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post by Our Planet and other Facebook users which shows a screenshot of an alleged Facebook post by British wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough encouraging people to help bees survive by feeding them sugar water to give them energy to return to their hives.

This Facebook post from July 4, 2018 claims feeding sugar water to bees will help them survive.

The alleged Attenborough Facebook page profile picture shows a young David holding a chimpanzee. The post reads in part: “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. If you find a tired bee in your home, a simple solution of sugar and water will help revive an exhausted bee.”

The post had been shared more than 6000 times and received more than 100 comments and over 480 reactions. It has also shared on the viral news site UNILAD, which superimposed excerpts of the post on a video of bees and Sir David, and on other Facebook pages.  

The Analysis

AAP FactCheck found Sir David Attenborough does not have any verified social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

The BBC confirmed in 2018 the post did not come from the 93-year-old naturalist and requested it be removed from Facebook after people in the United Kingdom started leaving out spoonfuls of sugar water to feed “tired bees”.

NSW Apiarists’ Association president Stephen Targett told AAP FactCheck feeding bees sugar water was only a “short-term solution” used by experienced beekeepers in exceptional circumstances such as drought. 

Mr Targett said feeding sugar water to bees long term could contaminate the hive with disease and kill the colony. He said a long-term solution to keeping bee colonies alive was to plant flowers closer to bee populations for the bees to pollinate.

The Verdict 

Based on this evidence, AAP FactCheck found the Facebook post encouraging people to feed sugar water to bees to survive to be false. 

False – The Facebook post is false.

* AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 First published Thursday July 18, 2019 15:50 AEST

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