When many of us think of honey, we can’t help but associate it with the loveable Disney movie character, Winnie the Pooh.
Pooh spends all of his time indulging in jars and jars of honey that he eats with his paws, or he takes part in some risky activities involving climbing a large tree in search of a beehive. All of this in the name of collecting a golden pot of honey for his lunchtime meal.
But, is this fictional portrayal of Pooh based on the behavior or real bears? Are the bears we witness in the wild just as obsessed with honey?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Below, we’ve compiled this handy guide, which we believe will answer all of your questions regarding bears and honey.
To find out more, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look at the subject.
Do Bears Really Eat Honey?
So, why not just jump straight in and answer the question at hand? Do bears really eat honey, or is this just a fictional portrayal? The answer to this question is yes! Bears are great lovers of honey, just like Winne the Pooh.
The creator behind the Winne the Pooh story books, A. A Milneactually got his inspiration from real bears, who love to raid beehives, and believe it’s worth the risk of being stung.
Why Do Bears Eat Honey?
So now that we’ve briefly covered that bears do, in fact, eat honey, we can move on to discuss why they enjoy this particular food so much.
Well, first and foremost, the reason why they are attracted towards beehives is because they contain so much protein. Consuming the honey can help them to reach their nutritional requirements, and give them an energy boost.
The big difference between the fictionalized account demonstrated by Winne the Pooh and real life bears, is that the latter don’t just eat the honey, but they’ll actually eat the whole beehive too, including the bees!
In terms of what type of bears consume beehives, this is true for both black and brown bears.
As well as consuming the honey for its nutritional properties, one of the main reasons why bees love eating honey, is purely because it tastes so darn delicious.
Once bears have had one taste of honey, they’ve actually been known to walk super long distances in order to find more.
When they find the honey source, they will consume as much of it as possible, until they’re able to find another hive.
Are The Bears At Risk Of Being Stung?
Some of you reading this article might be wondering why bears take the risk of being stung on their hunt for honey. Do they actually feel any pain if they are stung by these creatures?
The simple answer is yes, bears can still feel the pain of bee stings, and although it’s painful, they will endure it in order to enjoy their meal.
Thankfully, however, bear’s bodies contain more natural toxins than other mammals, which means that if they are stung, it won’t be quite as painful as it would be for human beings.
What Else Do Bears Eat?
Another key difference between Winnie the Pooh and some of the bears found in our wildlife, is that the latter don’t eat honey exclusively.
Winnie the Pooh stores pots and pots of honey in his home, and doesn’t appear to consume anything else, but this isn’t true to real life.
Although bears are technically regarded as carnivores, they eat mainly plants. Bears will spend most of their time grazing on vegetation, and eating a wide variety of different plants.
As well as this, you’ll also find bears hunting for fish, which they like to eat, as well as insects, and sometimes, other animals.
Vegetation and insects, however, are more reliable food sources for these animals. It makes sense that considering bears spend most of their time eating bland plants and insects, that they would be excited at the opportunity of devouring a sugary beehive.
How Do I Stop Bears From Eating My Honey?
A very real problem for many beekeepers in America is that there are bears emerging from the forestry, and consuming the beehives in their gardens.
This is a serious issue, and has seen a big decline in the amount of bee colonies which were trying so hard to protect.
If you’re wondering about the best ways to prevent bees from consuming your hives, it’s probably a good idea to install an electric fence, which can help to deter these animals.
In addition to this, make sure your hives are in very open areas of your garden, as bears don’t like areas which are wide and without forestry to conceal them.
To sum up, it is true that bears like to consume honey. The key reason behind this is because they enjoy the taste of the honey, and it provides a lot of nutritional benefits for bears.
Although they risk being stung, bears have a higher tolerance for pain than a lot of other mammals, and so are more willing to take this risk. If you have an issue with bears ravaging your hives, consider installing an electric fence.