Do skunks eat bees? Are bees skunk food?

Skunks are a predator to insects. So do skunks eat bees?

Skunks do eat bees, they enjoy a variety of insects and bees are definitely one of them. Skunks irritate bee hives until the bees come out. They then catch and eat the bees. In retaliation, the bees sting the skunks but the skunks don’t really mind, they are used to stings in their mouths.

Everything in this world has its place in the food chain.  Animals and insects alike. We human beings are placed somewhere in it too.

Sometimes you might wonder where on that food chain do some of the minor animal’s lie. Sure, we all know that a lion is the king of the jungle. It’s obvious to see why. But where would a skunk lie?

This animal is known more for its ability to spray a foul-smelling liquid to defend itself when it feels threatened, but this animal does not get too much mention. Would we classify this animal as predator or prey?  What does it eat and does it eat bees?

When I think of a skunk I imagine some cute Disney character prancing around a forest eating merrily at some red berry that it came across. I am an ignorant city dweller. I don’t know too much about the forest and the animals that live in it so I looked it up.

Do skunks eat bees?

Many people would be surprised to know that the insects that seem to plague the life of human have a natural predator. Skunks in fact do eat bees. It is a part of their diet.

Skunks are omnivores. They are not limited to just one type of food source. This is in part because they do not hibernate during the winter like other forest creatures. Instead, they must make use of what is available to them during the season that they are in.

Enter in the bee. Bees add protein to the skunk’s diet, protein that can’t be gained from eating just a simple berry. Looking at nature through the lens of the ecosystem, we can see that the skunk is doing its job in part to keep the population of bee’s in check as well.

 Of course, you might wonder about a bee’s sting.  Anyone who has had the unpleasant experience of being stung can agree that one sting is certainly enough. A swarm trying to protect itself will be very dangerous. A flying bee inside my mouth would be like swishing around a lump of hot coal.

Skunks can take the pain. In 1929 An observation was made on skunks to figure out what was disrupting beekeepers hives in California. They managed to trap four skunks and counted numerous stings in and around their mouths. The highest was 65 stings in and around one skunk mouth. Their fur keeps the rest of the body well protected from bee’s stings.

Skunks are not dying left and right from their encounters with bees, in fact, skunks go back to eat more bees. Stings are simply expected and accepted as with any other species who have come into contact and aggravated bees enough. Skunks also eat meat and skunks also eat mice among other things, click the links to read more.

How do they do it?

Skunks have long claws in proportion to the size of their bodies. These animals are excellent foragers. For the skunk, such delicacies as grubs or the bee’s cousin, the wasp, can only be found by digging. The little holes skunks make as they dig often resemble a squirrel’s holes as it searches for nuts. Next time when you see tiny holes around in your yard it might be from a skunk.

Those claws also leave clues as to whether a beekeeper’s hives are declining as a result of this predator. When searching for bees, the skunks will scratch at a hive, these scratches agitate the bees inside.

Guard bees will come out to deal with the threat. Once the skunk has killed the guard bees the rest of the hive is left vulnerable to a degree. The skunk will not consume the bees all at once. If they have found a hive the gives them good results in their hunt they will eat the bees from the same hive night after night enduring stings on their paws, face and inside their mouths to have at the tasty insects.

How do I protect my beehives from skunk predators?

How to repel them:

Appropriate fencing: For a bee farmer, a skunk is a pesky little animal. Strong fencing has proven to be effective against these animals. But skunks are natural diggers. If a fence is built it would be wise to make sure the base of it extends far underground.

Elevate the hive: Keep the hive elevated high enough off the ground to where the skunk cannot reach it while standing on its hind legs.  Also, taking caution to remove any overhanging parts of a tree to prevent a critter from climbing over.

Install an electric fence: Another common deterrent is to shock them using an electric fence. The thickness of their furry coats protects them to a certain extent. To make an electrified fence effective you want to get them to bite or lick it. Using peanut butter or bacon grease on the fence.

Use lights: Investing in a type of lighting system that will ward off potential predators is effective and less harmful. If you choose to use this method make sure the bees natural night cycle is not affected by the light’s you choose.

Are skunk dangerous?

Skunks are not the most dangerous animal. But they can be pesky. This is still a classified rodent. They can carry diseases and parasites. As well as an ability to wreak havoc on your personal/private property.

There are many different options out there to use as deterrents should you find one lingering in around your home. Choose which works best for your situation. If you have pets and young children choose and something that is safe for them and the environment. There are sprays that have natural oils and other compounds that skunks cannot stand the smell of and will not damage your lawn. These sprays can be effective repellents.


Even though the skunk does not get much mention when you think of wild animals and the ecosystem they are a valued part of it. They are surprisingly effective at keeping insects such as bees and wasps in check. Munching on them is a vital part of their diet.  

However, they can be a bother if you have a home close to their dwellings or if you are making a business out of the sweet sticky substance that bees create. If you are trying to rid yourself of a skunk the best repellent ideally is one that does little to no damage to them. As well as to your family and property.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other skunk related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Essential Oils To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell In The House, Can Skunks Climb Walls?, Using Apple Cider Vinegar To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell In The House, Is Not Addressing a Skunk Smell In The House Dangerous?, Why Do Skunks Spray Every Night?

Do skunks eat bees? Are bees skunk food?
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