Honeybees and Coffee Grounds

I noticed a few honeybees collecting coffee grounds from my compost bin the other day when it was 50 degrees in January. I’ve heard many times that they do this, but I had never seen it until then. I posted it to FB and the speculation and conjecture began immediately. Comments ranged from “That is very bad for them! Remove the coffee at once!” to “They may be after something we don’t know about.” I can’t be the only person out here with coffee grounds on a compost pile, and I tend to think the bees know better than me.



Author: brucelovesbees

I keep honey bees in Reading, Bernville, and Fleetwood, PA without treatments. I love to garden and observe Wasps, Bumble bees, and ants. I also raise mealworms for my Eastern Spotted turtle and myself.

12 thoughts on “Honeybees and Coffee Grounds”

  1. I will have to include this in my tests. I drink quite a bit of coffee and so would have many grounds available to place make available. They look like they are still moist so I will make sure it is similar. How close is the compost to the hive?


  2. I noticed my bees also bringing in what looks like pollen. I know better, though. Then my neighbor told me they were all over the corn dust from under her deer feeder.
    Thanks again for the great bees that I got from you last year. I am so happy they survived the winter treatment free! 🐝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad your bees are doing well. I hope you can split them 3 or 4 ways this spring. I can’t wait to see if their parent colony is still alive in that tree. As far as the corn dust, many would say it’s not good, but I’ve never seen evidence that it is harmful. It must contain some much needed protein and carbs to hold them over until real pollen is out there. Keep me posted. I’d love to trade a frames of eggs (to raise a queen) so I can have some of those good genetics!


  3. I live in the country and toss my coffee grounds outside. I also observed about five honeybees very interested in partaking of them on a few warm days in January.
    I am delighted to help them in any way I can, as they are being exterminated by various pesticides, parasites,and fungal diseases.
    I put a handful of pure sugar out amidst the coffe grounds, and they had no interest all in the sugar!
    I love honeybees! We will not survive without them on our Earth!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello,
    I am in Aurora, Co. Elev. 5800 and am setting up 6 – 4 x 4 raised beds. I have been collecting coffee grounds from our local coffee house and currently it is the only thing in my 6 beds. about 1/2 inch or so. Imagine my surprise today when I went out to the partially snow covered beds to find oodles of bees picking up coffee grounds. I hope I am reading this blog post correctly and don’t have to worry they are harming themselves. If anybody knows anything to the contrary, please let me know ASAP.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We just started having few honey bees a year ago. All the hive survive for the winter and now it’s early spring. I notice a lot of bees go crazy for “used coffee grounds “that I sprinkle to my flower beds. I observed them for a long time and still can’t conclude if they are collecting the grounds or simply trying to get rid of the mites. Any thought?

    Liked by 1 person

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