The bees’ natural food is honey, which they make from the collected raw materials, nectar and honeydew. Depending on the origin of these raw materials, this honey will contain mainly fructose, glucose and sucrose (beet or cane sugar), and in small quantities also maltose and other types of sugar. Fructose, glucose and sucrose are therefore the most important nutrients for bees.
Some honeys, such as rapeseed honey and honeys containing melezitose, are less suitable for overwintering because of their tendency to crystallise. The high ash and dye content, which is typical of most forest honeys, but also of some flower honeys, puts too much strain on the bees’ intestinal system and can lead to symptoms of dysentery during long winters.