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Thread: Swimming pool?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dukes, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    2

    Sad Swimming pool?

    I've been considering beekeeping for many years, and I really want to get started this spring, however there's one issue: we have a pool. Here are my circumstances:

    Our pool is a seasonal-only, above-ground pool. We don't set it up until end of June, and it comes down in early Sept. We do NOT have a pool cover, and prefer not to use one because the unique placement of the pool makes it difficult to cover. The pool water is chlorinated, and circulates (is moving) throughout most of the day when the pump is on. It is extremely likely the hives would need to be set up within close proximity of the pool.

    Here's my question: If I introduce bees to our yard before the pool is up (typically late April/early May for a new hive, yes?), and provide an attractive water source (or two) for them at the outset, will they still be very inclined to seek water at the pool all summer anyway? I will definitely not want to start beekeeping if this will become a problem for either the bees or my family. (Though I have considered giving up on the pool!)

    Any and all advice on this topic would be most welcome!

    Thanks,
    JBH (Wannabee)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    Welcome to Beesource!

    No one can give you assurance that your bees will not find your pool water attractive. There is some reason to believe that pool water is attractive to bees because it has a distinctive smell, i.e., that imparted by the chlorine.

    So if you want the bees to use an alternative water sources, make sure it is easy for bees to access (perhaps wood scraps as floats to land on, rocks, rope, etc) and also has an attractive smell. You may have to experiment as to smell. Chlorinated water (pool water) may work, or water with compost material (as in an artificial swamp) may work.

    It will probably be best to get the bees using your alternative water sources before you set up the pool. If you wait til the pool is set up, it will likely be more difficult to wean them off the pool water.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    East Hampton, CT, USA
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    You might check into non-chlorine water treatments. My girls were visiting the neighbor's pool until they changed from the chlorine. Not sure what they are using, but they say they don't see as many bees now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,640

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    I have anywhere from 10-20 hives at home depending on time of year. We have a 1acre pond the bees use as a water source. My brother put in an above ground pool next door last year and so far it hasn't been a problem. There are a few bees that go to the pool for a drink but, not so many as to cause a problem. Setting up the hives before the pool is put up and providing a reliable drinking source ahead of time should help keep the bees out of the pool. But, you have to keep the original drinking source full all the time. If it drys up during the summer you may have a very hard time keeping them out of the pool.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    I have an in-ground pool with the salt system and LOTS of hives on the property. Given that we run the salt system the water doesn't have the high chlorine smell found in other style systems. The biggest issue is to supply a consistent, alternate source of water and NEVER allow this source to run dry. This provided water source should be very close to the hives. As suggested, some type of smell can be helpful. Perhaps a little HBH in the water. Despite your best efforts, there's a good chance that you'll still get some bees in and around your pool. Actively scoop out bees floating in the pool, as these are the ones that will cause problems. We get maybe a sting per year in our pool, so make sure your family is on board with this.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dukes, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    Thanks to all so far for your kind (and not discouraging!) replies today. I was wondering: Would it help to add some sugar to the water source I would use to keep the bees from the pool?

    And Astrobee: What's HBH, please?

    Thanks again!
    JBH/Wannabee

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    If you put sugar in the water you may have to contend with other -undesirable- insects that like sugar. Perhaps wasps ...

    HBH is Honey-B-Healthy:
    http://honeybhealthy.com/
    Available from Bee Supply vendors, or you can look around and find recipes for homemade versions.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lake County, Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    We have a swimming pool about 100 yards from our hives and we use chlorine. We may see an occasional bee floating but they have never bothered us. Horseflies on the other hand, a problem. The bees have always preferred either the area our sump pit or where we have a perimeter drain outlet to get water.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    I had a terrible issue with them getting under our hot tub cover so I set up a sprinkler on a timer that goes off for 15 minutes in the moring like 10 feet in front of the hives. I have some trays there with floating wood and styrofoam. It completely stopped the behavior. Works perfectly. I got the sprinkler and the timer at lowes. It was the only thing that worked for me but it worked 100 percent. Not one bee came to the tub after the sprinkler.

    This is the sprinkler
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_19002-306-77...7C1&facetInfo=

    This is the type of timer
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Orbit-2-Port...item4ac1fee774

    We also have a neighbor with an above ground pool just over the fence and there hasn't been any issue

    I waited to make sure I could say for sure this works but it totally did. I set it to go off at 8:30 am The bees are smart they pick up on it right away and don't waste any time going out of their way for other water.

    You will be all set if you do this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    You can only stack the deck... there are no guarantees, but this is what bees want in a water source, and the closer you get to that, the better your luck:

    • Smell. They can recruit bees to a source that has odor. Chlorine has odor. So does sewage. So do essential oils.
    • Warmth. Warm water can be taken on even moderately chilly days. Cold water cannot because when the bees get chilled they can’t fly home.
    • Reliability. Bees prefer a reliable source.
    • Accessibility. Bees need to be able to get to the water without falling in. A horse tank or bucket with no floats does not work well. A creek bank provides such access as they can land on the bank and walk up to the water. A barrel or bucket does not unless you provide ladders or floats or both. I use a bucket of water full of old sticks. The bees can land on the stick and climb down to the water.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bartlett, Illinois
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    I have two hives located about 40 yards from our pool. I have never had any issues, but do have some thoughts. I never leave items in the pool that the bees can use to access the water. So, things like mats, or floating toys are removed from the pool after use. Bees that try to access the pool wind up drowning and are not able to go tell all their buddies about the great water supply 40 yards away. I bet I get about 5 bees a day out of my skimmers, not too bad.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    481

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    What does everyone think about a bucket/tub some type of container closer to the hive than a pool, but filled with the pool water. Same attraction, less flying distance?? Wonder if that would work.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan. NY View Post
    What does everyone think about a bucket/tub some type of container closer to the hive than a pool, but filled with the pool water. Same attraction, less flying distance?? Wonder if that would work.
    I've heard that mentioned often, but not sure it should be "Plan A". Perhaps once you have a problem, providing them with a closer source of the same water might help to resolve the problem. But for starting off before they resort to the pool, I'd try another favorable smell and keep it consistent. It just seems that you might be inviting a problem where one doesn't exist. No proof, just a feeling. All great ideas so far.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    What Michael said about the warm water could be why the hot tub was so appetizing for the bees. Before I tried the sprinkler I was desperate and tried putting the hot tub water in my watering areas for the bees and it didn't work. I tried lemon grass oil too it didn't work. Probably because it wasn't warm it was less desirable. If I shut the hot tub down and drained it completely then they would know and stop but withing a day or two of it being full they knew and started back. Once they tell eachother it is a done deal there is no stopping them that I could figure out. A hot tub might be worse than a pool cause they get the water dripping off the cover and it's warm. I was extremely pleased to see that the sprinkler stopped the mayhem. They were clogging the filter and the intakes. It sounds like you will be fine with a pool if you keep the water nice for them and consistent. If it doesn't work the sprinkler can be the back up plan. According to my experience it was 100% effective. I guess now you can get Honey Bees Yes!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,765

    Default Re: Swimming pool?

    There's no guarantee that at some point the bees will think pool water is best. We have water sources nearby and they get used sometimes, other times they don't and the bees are on to something else. Our neighbor has a pool and kids, dogs, etc., so we've always been worried but so far, so good. They certainly get visited but not a lot. Typically, most of the bees adore the bird bath and when visiting it, they fly right past two other water sources. It's a longer and more difficult flight but that's what they like.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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