If bees are not able to locate nectar then they can always collect some from the droppings of insects. It is specifically the sap-sucking scale insect that leaves behind droppings that are rich in honeydew. Bees typically gather honeydew starting in the spring after the first blooming of flowers. However, bees are able to survive and find nectar before the flowers bloom, and researchers have long been puzzled as to how bees are able to pull this off.
According to a researcher from the University of Florida at Gainesville there is not much that is known, if anything, about what bees do when there are no flowers. Recently researchers have been looking into the various ways that bees procure honeydew. Another method adopted by bees involves fungus. Many solitary bees have been found gathering around shrubs that sport a certain mold that thrives on honeydew. It is still unclear as to how much honeydew benefits bees, but researchers seem certain that bees cannot survive without at least a little bit of pollen from flowers.
Have you ever spotted a bee in the cold weather?