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Thirsty Bees

  • 10 May 2020 9:15 AM
    Message # 8959276

    Good morning everyone. I am a new member with no experience. I am really excited to join this group. We have a very small pond in our back yard that attracts lots of bees every year. I love them but they scare my wife. Later in the season there are sometimes as many as 30-40 bees at a time all day hanging around and drinking water. I was thinking of putting some kind of water source in a different part of the yard but I don't know if that would help or how to attract them to that area. I think they really like the pond. Any suggestions?

  • 12 May 2020 9:02 PM
    Reply # 8965109 on 8959276
    Jacob Dickinson (Administrator)

    John, welcome, on behalf of the club!

    What water sources will attract bees, and whether that's something we can influence, is mysterious to me. I've got a little fountain in the front yard, and for my first couple of years of beekeeping, the bees really went for it. I enjoyed that. I like to sit by this fountain, eating or reading. It was nice being surrounded by bees who weren't interested in me one way or the other, just thirsty. Then they quit drinking there. I have no idea why, or what they've found that they like better!

    I'll try to roust other members who can contribute more!

    One thing I wonder about the pond: Is there any sign that bees are drowning in it? Or do they cling to the sides? One consideration important to many approaches to giving bees water, is ensuring that they don't drown. Their vision won't dependably tell them whether they're about to land in a thin film of water, or something deeper. Many solutions incorporate improvised floats or rafts for the bees to land on. Others use something the bees can get down into as the water dries up, like a shallow dish with marbles in it. Searching will turn up many variations. A fountain or water feature with a thin layer of water running over a surface might help.

  • 13 May 2020 8:44 AM
    Reply # 8966010 on 8959276

    Hi John,

    Honey bees seem to choose water sources that are the most annoying to us humans.  There are theories about mineral content, aroma/odor, plant excretions, etc., but the truth is no one really knows why one water source seems more attractive than another.  I'm attaching a link to a popular site that discusses various possibilities to get them to go where you want.  Best of luck.

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