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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    1,866

    Default Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq3gd...ature=youtu.be

    My bees love the dranage holes in my large pots that have fruit trees growing in them. This video was taken November 5, 2012, after three weeks of good rain. After seeing them do this last year, I started adding electrolytes to my syrup and protein patties. I have observed them clustering in and around these holes all summer and fall, even though there is several water resources available to them in my yard. . Any other guesses why they are doing this? After a few months, they have hollowed out the dirt inside the holes. The first time I saw this there were so many bees I though a swarm had gotten into one of my pots and made a hive. I'd like to know just what they are getting from this, bottle it and sell it! Hee hee, at least use it myself, although poop honey has a small market.
    Actually the pots have been filled for at least three or more years, so the horse manure compost and peat moss are not fresh.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,710

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    I compost a lot of material. Sometimes I have noticed bees on the compost piles themselves, but what really caught my attention recently was bees in a bucket of wet paper. When I have junk mail, old magazines, phonebooks, etc to add to a compost pile I soak the paper in a bucket of water next to the bin for a few days to soften it up. And usually after a few days the water gets somewhat gross looking, but I deal with it.

    In any case, there was a steady stream of bees landing on the wet paper that was soaked, but not under water. They stayed for perhaps 90 seconds then flew off, with more coming regularly. This was in spite of having a rain barrel (with floating "landing pads") closer to the hives that they had used earlier in the season. I wondered if perhaps they were harvesting the wet paper to use as part of propolis in the hive.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    Hi Lauri, I like seeing all of the videos and pictures that you post here.. thanks I'm sure folks get some good ideas from them.

    I do some container gardening as well, and my bees do the same as yours. I've seen some other threads on here, and I believe the consensus is that the bees are after the salt. Though I'm not sure exactly why. It's why they go after the water from swimming pools, as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    They do need the salt, I keep a lick in my apiary, but I think there is something in compost/dirt they like. I've noticed the same thing and compost bins seem to be a very popular swarm choice.
    Cheers,
    Drew

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    1,866

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    Thanks all.
    LOL, new Swarm Lure:
    lemongrass oil mixed with compost tea! (Shhhh...Don't tell Odfrank)

    Really, the only thing in my garden they like as well as flowering herbs is this drainage.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    769

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    [QUOTE=Lauri;864681]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq3gd...ature=youtu.be
    I have observed them clustering in and around these holes all summer and fall, even though there is several water resources available to them in my yard. . Any other guesses why they are doing this? /QUOTE]

    Every Spring, bees I keep gather in my seedlings when they sit out in pots. My thought has been some mineral or something that attracts them.
    karla

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    I put horse mineral block near one hive, wet, still no winner. The bees ignored it. Maybe I need compost!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,147

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    I feel the compost has the right smell to attract them and the proper concentrations of salt, water and minerals. We don't see bees in our bird bath but we do see them on the edges of the creek, moist dirt and in the chicken yard which always has fresh droppings and chickens to scratch up fresh soil. So after seeing my bees dive into the dirt right in front of their hives I stopped asking why. It is what they like.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    I have noticed this type of drinking (peat, wet black earth, damp boards) in spring and fall especially, I was wondering if it might be more about a warm(ish) source without risk of falling?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    They like the mud puddles in my chicken coop after a rain, if you could call it mud?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,039

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    I have automatic drip that runs daily on my bonsai trees and that also works well for bee watering holes. The crinkly bark on one Evergreen Chinese Elm also attracts swarms. It closely resembles clustered bees.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,866

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    Nice pic Odfrank! You are a swarm collecting guru

    Here is one of my un pruned Bonsai specimens..I think my bone collection scares off the swarms though.LOL


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Bees sucking compost tea out of drainage holes in pots

    I get used potting soil from the nurseryman that I hunt geese with and the bees go for that when I first throw it out (when it is steaming). I put out a bucket of water with some old aquarium salt water thinking they were looking for the minerals. They had little interest in the salt or any concentration that I tried.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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