Yes, honey bees do eat fruit!
But the answer is so much more complex than that. Honey bees will love ripe fruit the most when they are in nectar dearth.
Honey bees will feast on almost any piece of fruit. They are known to eat: plums, peaches, grapes, apples, figs and pears. The debate among beekeepers is if the bees drill a hole within the fruit or use a hole created by another insect. The breaks could be caused by wasp, stink bug, beetle, bird or any other insect/animal.
Some of the beekeeping information I have read in articles and forums on Beesource, Gardenweb and other blogs that contained ardent debates on whether honey bees are physically capable of penetrating the skin of fruits. Beekeepers have tested this theory by placing grapes in the beehive. The beekeepers would also cover the grape in honey. After time has passed, the grape would be intact stuck to the wall with no honey.
Orchard keepers say that bees can bite through fruit while bee keepers say they can’t. We also know that bees can bite enemies when they enemy are too small. Bees can penetrate the outside shell of a wax moth larva. If they can bite through larva, why can’t they bite through a tender piece of fruit skin.
Honey bees almost always like their fruit ripe. The fruit is the sweetest when it is slightly overripe. Bees can tell if the fruit is sweet by a fragrance the fruit gives out that bees can sense. This odor allows bees to pinpoint a food source that is nearby.
People often believe that bees only get their food from flowers but that isn’t the case. Bees can also get food from non-flower sources. When bees find a non-flower food source, it can be characterized by a break in the fruit’s skin.
Summer is hot and bees are searching everywhere for food. One day when I was picking peaches, I saw a ton of bees swarming around my trees. The bees must have followed the odor.
Shown here is an image of my bees eating a rotten peach.