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Thread: Water...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Amboy, WA, USA
    Posts
    52

    Question Water...

    I'm almost a week into my beekeeping now. We have a natural stream thats maybe 2/10th's of a mile from my hives. My local mentor said that would be fine for a water source. I got nervous about it with them being so new and what not, so I decided to just go get a couple poultry water cans (the kind that have a reservoir on them that you fill, then invert and gravity keeps just about an inch of water in a small lip around the base).

    I filled them up and put them on top of the hives, this a good place for them to sit? Or should I move them out away from the actual hive? I'm figuring they will find the water on top, but if I put it out front of the hives, I won't have to move it as often?

    Thoughts? Feel free to tell me I was a little nuts and the stream would have been fine. This has cost me almost $1200.00 to get started, and if I lose a hive cause I didnt give them enough water my wife will literally KILL me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Dudley, NC
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Water...

    They'll find the water at the stream, your poultry water cans, the neighbors pool, etc....Me, I wouldn't worry with the poultry cans.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Water...

    I second the not worrying with the poultry cans vote...and I DEFINITELY wouldn't put them ON my hives! The bees seem to prefer to have their water source at least 20'-30' away from the hive anywise, so there's prob. nothing gained by having any water source(s) closer than that; and 1000ft to the creek is plenty close.
    Actually, if you're really all that concerned with watering your bees, you could always set a bird-bath about 30'-50' away from the hives, just be sure to disturb it as infrequently as possible...they don't generally like fresh/chlorinated water much.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,673

    Default Re: Water...

    The stream would have been fine. I occasionally place Boardman feeders containing water on my hives in summer if it is really dry and hot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Water...

    Mike,
    I have a hive in my garden and there is a pool next door. In an effort to prevent unwanted guests from swimming in the pool, I have water about 5 feet from the hive. My water source is the lid from a Rubbermaid storage tub that I have filled with rocks. The bees use the rocks to access the water without drowning and will actually collect the water from the surface... you could do the same with a bird-bath. I fill the lid every few days from a rain barrel at my garden shed. So far, the bees don't seem to be visiting the pool and I don't see then at the rain barrel. The bees might like the water better if it was farther away, but on warm days I have seen over a hundred collecting water from the rocks.
    Seth

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: Water...

    In our area we rarely need to worry about water. Right now they can get plenty from rain and condensation (we have plenty of both, maybe too much). I have a pond and creek pretty close to my hives here at my house and I never see bees there until the weather starts to get really warm. I think that they use the water for cooling the hive more than consuming it because during hot weather the pond and creek hum with bees. But that's only July and August mostly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: Water...

    they don't generally like fresh/chlorinated water much.

    I was at a presentation by a local keeper that said that bees actually like the smell of chlorine. He went so far as to suggest that if your neighbors had pools, which are typically higher in Cl than drinking water, that you try and direct their flight paths away from it because they will definitely hang out there.

    I'm continually amazed at what bees will and won't go for.

    ~Matt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: Water...

    Quote Originally Posted by MJuric View Post
    I was at a presentation by a local keeper that said that bees actually like the smell of chlorine.~Matt
    Bees seem to have a definite preference for "scented" water. Doesn't have to be chlorine. If you're looking to keep bees from a neighbor's pool, it's often recommended that you provide a water source to which you've added a few drops of bleach.

    My bees will pass by any water I put out and head for any puddles in the horse's round pen or muck pile.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Water...

    We had a scientist come to our guild meetings and he was saying that bees, like humans, like electrolytes in the water. This is why they like pool water. One way to get them to come to a certain source though is to add lemongrass oil so it. Just a few drops to a gallon. It will keep them from going to a neighbors pool and go to a feeder. At least that's what the scientist said. I haven't tried it or checked with the neighbor with the pool.

    But back to the OP questions, I would move the water. Not only would it be a hassle to move each time, if other bees find it the guard bees will go after them to keep them away from their hive. The stream should be ok, but you can put the cans on the porch or something also. Like said before, they like drinking off the surface of rocks so you might want to put some rocks in the bottom so they can stand on them and drink. Bees can drown in 1" of water so it will help Since that is all your using it for.

    Also, don't worry. I know you spent a bunch of money, but even if you lost all your bees they are the cheap part to replace. I can get 2-3 swarms a day right now for free.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Dunlap, TN, USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Water...

    WOW Mike.... I'm a bit shocked that you are $1200.00 in already and are only less than a week into beekeeping lol.

    I'm no expert but I think the stream is perfectly fine. If you insist on using the feeders I think you would be fine just sitting them out on the ground or anywhere near the hive. They wont have trouble finding it.

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