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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Charlotte, VT
    Posts
    6

    Default Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Hello All,

    I'm a first year beekeeper in northern Vermont. Our land has a small pond in the back about 200 feet from my two hives. Lately when stopping at the pond I've noticed about 40-60 bees along a 8 foot section where the vegetation next to the pond is low. At first I thought they were filling up with water, then I noticed that every single one of them was about 3 inches above the water line. I noticed a big pollen layer on the pond a couple weeks ago and was wondering if they might be collecting pollen that settled on shore, or if they're actually getting water...but groundwater, not at the shoreline.

    Has anyone seen anything like this and knows what's going on? Any ideas?

    I witnessed a little "Wild America" (Marty Stouffer's old show) on the same pond edge. The pond is full of little frogs and one of them took a leap at one of the bees on shore and nabbed it. I could see a couple legs of the bee sticking out of the frogs mouth. The frog held on for a couple seconds then spit her out with her stinger left inside. Bad day for that little frog.

    Interesting creatures they are for sure.

    Will

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Erie, NY, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Howdy, I have a 1000 gallon goldfish pond within 20 feet of 2 hives. The water is filtered and crystal clear. I have almost never seen a bee taking water from this pond - just maybe a few on a lily pad from time to time. The other day I took a walk in the back where there are some fresh tractor tracks that were 1/2 filled with dirty water. There were at least 100 bees at the edges of this little pool taking in water. I'd guess it's something about the minerals in the water.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Pownal, Maine, USA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    I've noticed the same thing with my bees at our pond's edge. It's almost as though they prefer to suck moisture out of the damp edges as opposed to taking water from the pond itself.
    Cindy
    Don't be afraid your life will end. Be afraid that it will never begin.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Mine hit the birdbaths in the yard, every one of them. Three neighbors in a stones throw have pools but no word of new visitors there, so I guess they're pretty well set on getting water close by. We were in the 90's again today and the girls were very agitated as we refilled the baths for them. They do seem to like something in the water; dead leaves or something organic, clean water not so much.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Charlotte, VT
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Maybe the water in the pools is a little too clean with the chlorine and all. Lucky for the neighbors!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Quote Originally Posted by stripstrike View Post
    They do seem to like something in the water; dead leaves or something organic, clean water not so much.
    All the dirt and dust that comes off the birds. Also the evaporation of the water from multiple refillings concentrates the minerals available.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    GREENWOOD INDIANA USA
    Posts
    342

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    My bees have access to my pond, which they never use. They mostly get their water from a five gallon bucket into which I've placed a handful of sticks and over the side of which hangs a shop cloth. Since the shop cloth has one end in the water, the water wicks up the cloth and over the side of the bucket. 90% of the bees suck the water from the cloth which, after a few weeks, gets very green and nasty looking. They like it that way, I guess. From dawn to dusk there are usually 12-20 bees on the cloth at all times.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Pottstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    I can't figure it out. I have a pool about 200 ft from the hive. My kids laugh at me cause evertime I at the pool i'm scooping bees out. ALL THE TIME. But, I have two bird baths set withing 15 feet of the hive with small branch's, leaves ..... in there to land on, and hardly any visit. My skimmers have 20 to 30 everyday.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Rosedale, IN
    Posts
    501

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Once they get started at a water source, they keep going back. I have had water sources for them set out and they definitely prefer the dirty creek water. They do like to sit at the edge of my fountain and collect water too.
    "The greatest threat is our own staggering ignorance and cavalier treatment of the natural world to which we belong."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickole View Post
    I can't figure it out. I have a pool about 200 ft from the hive. My kids laugh at me cause evertime I at the pool i'm scooping bees out. ALL THE TIME. But, I have two bird baths set withing 15 feet of the hive with small branch's, leaves ..... in there to land on, and hardly any visit. My skimmers have 20 to 30 everyday.
    Try adding a little salt to the birdbath, they like salty water.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,787

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    I think they like water with a smell.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Caddo, Louisiana
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Bees at water, interesting observation/question

    My bees have changes water sources recently, the first water trough they used was a rubbermaid 100gal that had the top layer cut off, so the water filled right to the first "shelf" (it's about an inch wide and was only damp). The second water source that they are currently using is a livestock float on another rubbermaid trough that is about 12 feet away. Both water sources have significant organic matter though the second one they seem to be drinking right from the float, rather than the open water (it really doensn't have a good drinking spot other than the float). The thing that confuses me is why they would change, the first had a great spot for them to drink, and bees would almost never drown; the second spot kills 30 or so a day, if the big goldfish aren't eating them.

    I did wonder if it was the temperature, the first spot is not a favorite of the horses, so the water stays kind of warm. The second has 7 LARGE mares who probably cause the water to run almost constanty, I would guess it is refilled several times a day.

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