Yes, Bears Actually Love Honey. Here's Why

Do you love honey? We know we sure do. Whether stirred into a hot cup of tea, folded into homemade BBQ sauce, or drizzled between layers of flaky baklava, this sweet, golden liquid is a must in any pantry. And as much as humans love honey — the average person consumes almost two pounds of the stuff per year, according to Bee Culture — you've probably heard that bears enjoy it, too.

In popular culture, the most well-known fan-bear of honey is Winnie the Pooh, who can often be seen sticking his paws into a ceramic jar of "Hunny," or reaching into a hive to get some straight from the source. "The only reason for being a bee is to make honey," Pooh Bear has said. "And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it."

But cartoon bears are one thing, and real bears are another. In fact, you may have asked yourself if real bears enjoy this bee-produced nectar. Turns out they do, indeed.

Bears love honey — and the actual bees and larvae, too

If you've ever seen GIFs of Winnie the Pooh eating honey or wondered why the sweet stuff is often sold in bear-shaped plastic containers, you're not alone in your curiosity about the connection between bears and honey. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, real-life bears (like brown and black bears) really do enjoy honey. As noted by department educator Elizabeth Manning, honey is an important source of nutrition for bears.

"Bears do love honey and are attracted to beehives," Manning notes. "But unlike in 'Winnie the Pooh,' the bears eat more than just honey. They will also consume the bees and larvae inside the beehive, which are a good source of protein."

And while humans approach beehives with caution — and are often armed with full-body protection — bears don't have to worry about bee stings too much, according to the North American Bear Center. While chowing down on honey and comb — and the pupae, larvae, and eggs found inside — bears will inevitably get some stings on their faces and ears, but are pretty well-protected by their thick fur.

Other delicious foods that bears love include wild salmon and blueberries. These creatures really do have good taste.