Yes, bees can get drunk. They indulge in alcohol when they drink fermented nectar. This nectar contains ethanol, the very same alcohol that we humans drink to get a buzz.
In this article, we’ll learn more about drunken bees as we discuss the following:
- How bees get drunk
- What happens to drunk bees
- Do bees like alcohol?
- Can bees become addicted to alcohol?
- Is alcohol bad for bees?
- Are drunk bees dangerous?
How Do Bees Get Drunk?
Bees get drunk through the consumption of fermented nectar. Fermented nectar contains ethanol which can lead to intoxication. This is the same ethanol that many of us humans drink to get a buzz.
What is Fermented Nectar?
Fermented nectar is nectar that’s processed by yeasts. It’s usually created after rainfall or humid conditions. During these times, nectar absorbs moisture that allows the growth of yeast. These yeasts then turn nectar into booze.
What Happens When a Bee Gets Drunk?
Bees behave differently when they get drunk. Like humans, they become less coordinated and experience difficulty in moving. They tend to stick their tongues out and spend more time flying. If they’re too drunk, they may end up just lying on their backs and wiggling their legs. 
Research has also found that some bees become aggressive when they’re drunk. In fact, a study on the effect of ethanol on bees had to be stopped as the bees became dangerously aggressive. 
Lastly, too drunk or intoxicated bees can fail to return to their hives and die.
What Happens When a Drunk Bee Tries to Get Back to Their Hive?
Drunk bees that make it back to their hives are usually denied entry. Guard bees identify them through their erratic movement and keep them out. It can even get violent as the guard bees forcefully eject them from the hive. This may sometimes result in lost wings and limbs.
While quite harsh, the guard bees do it for a good reason. If fermented nectar gets turned into alcoholic honey, it could lead to the colony’s collapse. It’ll paralyze the hive’s inhabitants and the colony will fail to function.
Hence, keeping them out preserves the overall functionality and safety of the colony.
Do Bees Like Alcohol?
It’s uncertain whether bees like and enjoy alcohol. We don’t know if they like the taste of it or if they like fermented nectar. What’s clear though is that they willingly consume it.
Bees have been observed readily drinking high concentrations of ethanol solutions. They even drink 95% ethanol solutions as long as their antennae don’t make contact with it. So whatever their motivation is, it’s certain that they’re not averse to alcohol.
Can Bees Become Addicted to Alcohol?
Yes, bees can become addicted to alcohol. Research states that bees are predisposed to alcoholism. It also states that they could develop a dependence on alcohol. 
In one study, honeybees were consistently fed a sucrose solution with about 1% ethanol. When they were cut off from the solution, they began to show withdrawal symptoms. Researchers observed that these bees then increased their consumption of ethanol. They would consume solutions with alcohol concentrations as high as 20%.
Afterward, they show behaviors similar to drunk humans. They also exhibit an increase in mortality rate.
Is Alcohol Dangerous to Bees?
Alcohol is definitely dangerous to bees. Most drunk bees end up dead. They either die from predators or because they’re rejected from the hive.
Furthermore, alcohol not only affects individuals but it also threatens the whole colony. Again, alcohol can contaminate a colony’s honey stores and paralyze its inhabitants.
Are Drunk Bees Dangerous?
Yes, drunk bees are dangerous. Again, some bees become dangerously aggressive after consuming alcohol. They tend to sting more frequently as compared to sober bees.
Summary: Can Bees Get Drunk?
To summarize, yes bees can get drunk. They can get drunk on fermented nectar that contains ethanol. When they do, they start to behave differently. They become less coordinated and have difficulty moving.
In general, bees that get drunk often don’t survive. They’re seen as a threat to the colony so they can’t get back to their hives. This means that they’re left alone trying to survive in their groggy state.