Last updated on October 7th, 2022
Which animals eat bees? Bears, wasps, crab spiders, kingbirds, hornets, skunks, mockingbirds, and frogs eat bees.
You must have heard of animals that eat honey, but have you heard of animals that eat bees? I did not know about it until I met a beekeeper. He told me about the loss of bees due to the attack of certain animals.
Animals that eat bees:
- Crab Spiders
I always thought that bees were dangerous insects, and usually, most creatures would avoid these insects.
We all know that bees can sting hard when they are threatened. Despite that, animals like bears and skunks are known to consume not just the honey produced by the bees but also the insects.
This took me by surprise, and with the help of my beekeeper friend, I made the following list of animals that eat bees.
List of animals that eat bees:
Bears are considered one of the most dangerous predators of bees. They can destroy a beehive and consume honey, insects, and larvae.
The problem that bees face when it comes to bears is that all of them can climb trees.
Thus, even building a nest high up in the branches cannot save their nest from a bear attack.
Moreover, the thick skin of a bear is nearly impenetrable to the sharp stinger of the bees.
This makes bears one of the most challenging predators for the bees to get rid of.
Bears often attack bee nests as the insect’s larvae are an excellent source of protein for the animal.
Therefore, bees form an excellent source of necessary protein when other food is scarce.
Wasps are another creature that is particularly lethal to honeybees. If you have a wasp nest in the neighborhood, you will not find honeybees.
The primary reason is that wasps are known to hunt honeybees, and they can bite off the head and abdomen of the bees.
They then carry the thorax of the honeybees back to the nest to feed on since the larvae provide the wasps with the necessary protein.
This is also why beekeepers who are keen on keeping honeybees are mindful of the location of wasp’s nests.
If they see even a small wasp nest they will promptly eradicate it.
So a wasp nest in the vicinity of a honeybee nest can be quite dangerous.
3. Crab spiders
Crab spiders are unique creatures that normally hide in the petals of flowers, waiting to ambush their prey.
When butterflies and birds come to visit the flowers in search of nectar, the spider immobilizes the prey with the help of venom and then consumes it.
These spiders are easily distinguishable by their longer front limbs and fangs.
This spider can also spin webs like other spiders which can be used as camouflage.
Crab spiders are also known to eat honey bees and are one of the most dangerous predators of insects.
Interested in learning more about spiders eating bees? Check out that article for more information.
Kingbirds are also known to be hunters of honeybees. These birds are known to hunt insects that feed on the nectar of flowers.
You will find that kingbirds are often perched on a branch or a perch looking for suitable prey.
Bees are known to fly at nearly thirty-two kilometers per hour. Despite the flight speed of bees, kingbirds will still attempt to catch the insect in midflight.
This makes them one of the most dangerous predators of bees.
But hunting bees midflight is quite difficult. So you need not worry about an attack of kingbirds on your honeybee nest.
Among the several pests that harm honey bee nests, hornets are known to cause havoc to an entire hive.
For example, the Asian hornet is a giant insect that can eat bees. Moreover, given the size of the insect, the honey bees are no match for the hornet.
Hornets catch and eat bees primarily because these insects are an excellent source of energy.
When hornets attack a nest of honey bees, they might consume some of the nectar, but they will not gather the honey.
Hornets are often found to seek out bee colonies as these are the best hunting grounds for these insects.
The common notion is that skunks attack bee colonies searching for honey or nectar.
But in reality, skunks attack bee colonies to feed on the bees.
Skunks are sometimes seen scratching at the entrance of a bee colony to agitate the creatures.
They will do this at night so that the bees come out swarming from the colony.
When the bees come out of the colony, the skunks swat the bees and stun the insects.
They will then pick up the stunned bees and consume them.
But you will always find that skunks attack smaller bee colonies so that fewer bees come out of the colony, and the chances of being stung are significantly reduced.
Larger colonies mean more bees so the skunk will be more heavily stung.
Several birds feed on insects, usually slow-moving ones like caterpillars. But mockingbirds are known to hunt fast-moving insects like bees.
While talking to a beekeeper, he told me that birds do not hunt bees because these insects have to be caught by the bird in midflight, which can be pretty challenging.
However, certain birds like the mockingbird have this unique ability to catch even a bee in mid-flight.
One of the reasons birds are drawn toward insects is because they provide them with the necessary supply of protein.
Consuming the occasional bee gives the bird the necessary protein boost.
Mockingbirds will eat not just dying and sick bees but also healthy ones.
In some cases, a frog can immobilize a bee before swallowing it whole. However, if the frog is not able to do so, it can be stung in the process.
It is not uncommon for a frog to be stung by a bee while swallowing it. However, when a frog catches a bee at the edge of its tongue, it rolls it quickly to avoid being stung.
When it comes to giant bees, most frogs avoid hunting them, especially those with brown stripes.
Still curious? We wrote an in-depth article on this subject matter and you can check it out here – Do frogs eat bees?