Bees do not eat butterflies. Bees and butterflies are both members of the order Lepidoptera, which translates to scaled wings in Latin. Butterflies are primarily found in temperate regions, while bees can be found almost anywhere as long as there are flowers to pollinate.
Despite their close relationship, these two insects don’t often cross paths – even though it seems like they would be natural predators of each other, based on their similar habitats and diets.
Bees don’t eat butterflies because butterflies eat pollen, but not for the same reasons that bees do. Butterflies use pollen as a source of protein to help them grow from larvae into full-grown adult insects. They don’t need a lot of it; just a small amount of pollen scraped from flower petals is enough to keep them going.
On the other hand, Bees ingest pollen to feed their young and build up honey stores for lean times. Bees need to consume about three times the amount of pollen that butterflies do.
A common misconception is that bees can hurt butterflies by accidentally stinging them while they are feeding on flowers, but this isn’t true either.
Do bees kill butterflies?
Honey bees only sting predators that threaten them or their nests. For example, if a butterfly were to fly near a honey bee hive, the bees might take up arms and sting it. The bees will happily live among butterflies and any other type of insect unless it seems like a threat to them, so feel free to put them in your garden and expect them to go foraging for nectar out in the open.
Bees are generally gentle and docile creatures, but they are also fiercely protective of their nests. If a predator or even a threat to their nest comes too close, bees will swarm in to sting.
Honey bees are very unlikely to harm other insects unless it’s absolutely necessary for their survival. This is because honey bees can’t hunt for nectar if they’re busy killing butterflies! So the bees will happily live among butterflies and any other type of insect unless it seems like a threat to them.
Do bees eat butterfly eggs?
It’s common knowledge that bees are attracted to bright colors, especially when they are foraging for nectar. Most people don’t know that they’re looking for even brighter spots.
A butterfly’s eggs, particularly those of a swallowtail butterfly-like Papilio Machaon and others in its genus, appear as tiny spots on their host plant leaves.
This is one of many strategies butterflies use to avoid predation by their enemies —but it doesn’t help them from being preyed upon by one specific predator: bees.
A bee is attracted to a bright spot on the butterfly, but what the bee does with the food makes all the difference in the end. Most bees that come across a butterfly egg will roll it up into a little ball and take it back to their nest to raise as a larva. Bees this small are typically unable to eat enough to sustain themselves, so they starve themselves trying to feed the larvae.
Do bees eat monarch butterflies?
Bees do not eat monarch butterflies. Instead, a bee may drink the nectar of a flower that the monarch has visited. While bees are not predators of the monarch butterfly, there are other insects and animals that will hunt and eat this beautiful creature.
In short, bees do not eat butterflies. It is possible that some individual bees may, on occasion, seek out butterfly eggs or larvae for protein or fat.