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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    I have an apiary on a property with a creek and a large pond. The property owners like having the bees, but said the only downside was that so many bees use the birdbath that birds won't use it anymore. The pond is closer to the bees than the birdbath.

    Is there any way to keep the bees out of the birdbath in a way that still allows birds to use it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    I have had a similar situation. It's my bird bath so I do not have the same issues you do. So, mine is a BEE BATH Just a suggestion to try. Once the bees find a source like that, it becomes THE source. See if your neighbor will let the BB go dry for a couple of days. The bees should find a new water source and use that as the primary source. Moving the BB might accomplish a similar change in behavior. At least your neighbor will see you are trying to work with him. JMO
    Rick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,882

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    The birdbath water is most likely warmer than the pond and the creek. And if water is too cold, bees won't use it. So you will need to provide an alternate source of water that warms similar to the birdbath. It would also be useful to give it a distinctive odor. Water with chlorine (swimming pool water), compost (rotting leaves, etc), manure all have distinctive odors and have been reported attractive to bees.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,757

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    The bees love my birdbath. I've had cases in real hot weather where the bees were so thick that it seemed to spook the birds. I put another birdbath out and that helped. The birds got their fill in either case early in the morning when the bees weren't flying much yet.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Berlin, Germany
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Then why not two "bird baths"? -- Oh, sorry, just saw that "Ravenseye" had written the same thing.

    -K
    Kevin M. Pfeiffer -- Berlin, Germany

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    It took these girls all summer to find this bird bath, but once they did, it was a primary source.

    2012-08-26_16-08-38_807.jpg2012-08-22_17-13-41_35.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,592

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    What do birds need a bird bath for?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nazareth,Pa
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    those are some really cool photos nice work MaydayMalone..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brandon, Florida
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    My bees like the bird bath more then my gold fish pond. Well have never seen a bee at the fish pond. What I figure is the bees like to sit just above the water level in the bird bath and lick the water from the moisture that is wicked up the concrete.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    What do birds need a bird bath for?
    To take a bath, of course. You've never seen a bird wash itself in a bird bath or more commonly, a puddle?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Thanks, gonzo. I'm very familiar with the Nazareth area. Where do you have your bees?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    To make your source more attractive than the bird bath you need to understand that bees are attracted to water because of several things:
    • Smell. They can recruit bees to a source that has odor. Chlorine has odor. So does sewage.
    • Warmth. Warm water can be taken on even moder-ately 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.

    If you can provide all of these at a level better than the bird bath, you stand a chance of succeeding. Set your source up and, if you can, empty the bird bath. Then after you have them trained to your new source (which should have odor as well as the rest) then you can refill the bird bath. You may have to continue to provide warmth and smell and access in the one you hope to keep the bees working or they may go back to the bird bath.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    To accomplish this you need to understand that bees are attracted to water because of several things:
    • Smell. They can recruit bees to a source that has odor. Chlorine has odor. So does sewage.
    • 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.

    So, if you empty the bird bath, and set up a new water supply that meets all of this criteria and then wait until the bees are working it, you should be able to refill the bird bath. But you have to maintain all these advantages such as smell, warmth and access or the bees will go back to the bird bath. By the same token you can go to some length to make sure when you first fill it (especially) that you make the bird bath unattractive, i.e.. no smell, no easy access (no floats or rocks to land on) cold water etc. After they get the habit deeply enough ingrained you can get a little less vigilant on the differences, but there should always be advantages to the one you want them to use.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nazareth,Pa
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Quote Originally Posted by MaydayMalone View Post
    Thanks, gonzo. I'm very familiar with the Nazareth area. Where do you have your bees?
    hey Mayday right now just in my suburban small yard ,but just completed 6 hives hope to find some good spots in the lehigh Valley area,I'm a Bird lover also
    but have never seen that many on my bird bath

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    506

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    you can try and put coffee grounds next to the pond water.so they stay wet they love the coffee grounds

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lake Elsinore california USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    I placed a clay saucer from a pot,it is sealed with black paint,filled it with rocks , placed it on the ground next to my wife's bird bath and ALL the ladies are now happy.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Michael Bush = The Bee Whisperer
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandbergr View Post
    I placed a clay saucer from a pot,it is sealed with black paint,filled it with rocks , placed it on the ground next to my wife's bird bath and ALL the ladies are now happy.
    Are you saying the bees left the bird bath in favor of the clay saucer?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lake Elsinore california USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    Yes the bees left the bird bath for the saucer. The saucer is 16" . I bought bagged dark colored rocks,which I smashed in a bag with a hammer,so it really seem to warm up fast. The bird bath still has a few bees but not like before. I placed the saucer "hive" side of bird bath. The birds and the bees (and the wife) are happy,which in turn makes me happy.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Problem: Bees in the birdbath

    I've heard that a tablespoon of vinegar in the bird bath will repel bees and not birds. It's worth a try.
    Rusty
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com "A Better Way to Bee"

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