Do Bees Poop?

Bees are beautifully graceful and elegant insects, so we may not often think about these animals going about their daily life routines.

Do Bees Poop

But just like many other wild animals, bees need to poop to excrete any waste products from their small bodies.

In this article, we find out everything you always wanted to know about bee poop and how a bee defecates.

Do Bees Poop?

Yes, most bees can poop as their body needs to dispel any waste from their digestion. Bees’ pooping has been observed by nature watchers, scientists and beekeepers.

Similar to humans and other insects, defecating is an essential process for bees as they dispose of any undigested food from their bodies.

What Is Bee Poo Called?

Bee enthusiasts call bee poop frass or bee frass. 

While frass is often used by beekeepers to describe bee fecal droppings, frass is a general term used for debris left by insects.

This could be feces, saliva, sawdust or anything else that is dropped by chewing or boring insects.

What Does Bee Poo Look And Smell Like?

The poo of a bee looks yellow and it has a sticky consistency. Bee poop also smells acidic, especially when it is fresh.

Bees typically feed on nectar and pollen, which means that their digested food has a similar color to nectar.

Healthy bees defalcate more often in spring than in winter (see also: Where Do Bees Go In The Winter?)because the temperatures are much more comfortable for these insects then.

That’s when we find more yellow bee droppings on the pavement, windowsill or our cars. These little sausage-shaped splats can stick to anything where it lands.

Bee poop is a lot more commonly found around bee hives. As bees don’t poop inside the hive, they get out of their home and drop it wherever possible.

How Often Do Bees Poop?

Bees can poop several times a week. This being said, there are a few occasions when bees don’t defecate as much as normal.

For example, bees try to hold their poop in during the winter season as they don’t like low temperatures, so they avoid going outside.

Plus, bees may also not poop as often as normal if they feel unwell or they suffer from digestive issues.

On the other hand, if a bee is affected by a disease, then it may poop a lot more frequent than a few times a week which means that the bee hive may be messy, too.

Where Do Bees Poop?

Bees drop their poop wherever they fly. However, these small, striped insects also have specific rules around their pooping routine.

In fact, bees are extremely hygienic and they only ever poop outside of the hive. 

This is important to keep the hive clean and free from diseases that could easily spread in these densely populated living conditions.

Typically, bees do a cleansing flight which means that they get out of the hive to defecate. These are usually short flights where they only drop their poop.

In addition, bees also try not to poop on flowers or anywhere where they pick up their pollen or nectar for their honey.

Bees also leave a poop trail behind as they fly to and fro from the hive. Beekeepers and bee enthusiasts can tell the direction of a good food source for bees just from this trail.

Why Don’t Bees Poop Inside The Hive?

Healthy, adult bees usually defecate away from their home, the bee hive. This has a number of reasons.

Do Bees Poop (1)

The main reason why bees commonly poop outside of the hive is because they want their home to stay clean and hygienic.

Bee poop can quickly attract bacteria which could cause diseases among the bee population. This could threaten the life of the entire bee colony.

In fact, beekeepers find that diseases, such as nosema, are common during the winter months when bees are confined and can’t go out due to the low temperatures.

While bees keep their poop in for as long as possible in colder climates, they eventually need to defecate, taking a quick cleansing flight or pooping inside the hive.

If a bee is sick, then it happens that it poops inside the hive, although this is not common.

Once the weather gets warmer, you can often see bees flying out of the hive in swarms (see also: What Is A Swarm Trap? Here’s How You Can Get Free Bees!)because they need to take their first cleansing flight of the season.

If you are new to beekeeping, then this can be a frightening experience as it may look like the entire colony is leaving the hive.

However, bees typically return after an extensive flight to relieve themselves. They may also combine this with an orientation flight.

Can Bees Get An Upset Tummy?

Yes, honey bees and other bee species can suffer from stomach upsets and diarrhea. There are several reasons why this may occur.

A bee may have a blocked intestine and struggles to remove the poop from its system. It may also have eaten something wrong.

Bees usually keep their poop in for longer over the winter month which can also cause diarrhea in bees.

However, they eventually leave the hive for a cleansing flight, so they can drop any of these waste products.

Do Bees Eat Each Other’s Poo?

Yes, a bee may occasionally eat the poop of another pee to strengthen its immune system and add healthy gut bacteria to its digestive system.

This is a common behavior observed in bees, dogs and many other animals.

Do Bees Pee?

No, a bee doesn’t pee as it urinates in a different way to humans and mammals. Bees don’t separate solid and fluid waste products in their digestive system.

This means that bees release uric acid and ammonia, together with their poop, through Malpighian tubes. This tube forms the anus of a bee which it uses to expel any feces.

Final Thoughts

Bees are fascinating animals. While they need to defecate a few times a week, they are also very clean, pooping outside of their hive and grooming themselves regularly.

Thomas Callaghan
Scroll to Top