What is your bee water recipe??
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2012
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    Default What is your bee water recipe??

    I am doing a research project for my Master Beekeeper designation, looking at bee preference across specific water "recipes", with a view to finding an irresistible recipe to offer bees such that:
    a) urban/backyard bees do not forage for water in neighbours' pools, hot tubs, bird baths and water features
    b) rural bees do not forage for water in sources contaminated by agricultural spray laced field runoff
    c) bees do not expend large amounts of flight energy searching for scarce water sources as they have had to in our recent two years of summer drought

    Have any of you noted what water concoction bees prefer in your yard??

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Elmira, NY
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Interesting topic, this could be very useful to the bee keeping community. Just curious, are you going to be running some experiments to compare recipes?

  4. #3
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Yes, I am going to compare 6 concoctions (one of which will be distilled water as a control) in three locations. This first study has to fit within the short time frame of my MB course, but I plan to follow up with repeats...tweaking the offerings based on what I find in this study.

  5. #4
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    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    I helped a forum friend, (pond) set up a watering hole to get a neighbors bees away from her pond (the guy has 8 hives, no water spot). Her koi were getting stung.

    Concoction, one stock tank, 100 gallons, wine corks, (they float to give the bees a landing surface) water and algae and some pond plants from her pond. The bees love it.

    Our bees inhale water from our ponds. I have around 10 two large with fish, the rest from 300-100 gallons, no fish. Some water collection areas in the stream, one large pea gravel bog i.e. pea gravel with water pumped through it, full of plants to filter the pond.
    The bees go for the bog water, the small water collection areas, the more algae, plant material the more bees go there. They stay away from the big ponds with fish, less floating plant material

    It rained, the edge of the upside down pot collected water mixed with a bit of dirt, the bees swarmed it.

    The water sources are around 50-75 feet from the hives.

    20160321_114510.jpg Message_1458571894478.jpg water.jpg
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  6. #5
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    Jul 2015
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    wnc
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    My guess is that if you have 6 recipes, you will find the bees ignoring all of them to water from a mudhole a quarter mile away. Leastways mine do.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Mine do take water from a watering station, but as missybee observed, they like it best when full of rotting leaves and sticks! When there are a lot of other colonies around the apiary (ie. bloom season in nearby fields of berries) I put Boardman feeders in each hive with their own water to prevent the watering station from becoming a disease transfer station.

    I am surprised the koi were being stung...would have thought they would just eat the bees (which is why you may not see many bees around the fish stocked ponds...they are in fish tummies).

  8. #7
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    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post

    I am surprised the koi were being stung...would have thought they would just eat the bees (which is why you may not see many bees around the fish stocked ponds...they are in fish tummies).
    Her koi are around 2 feet long if not more. She has photos of its mouth swollen. Her pond was being overwhelmed with bees from the neighbors hives. She even spoke to the guy, asking him to put some water out for them, he swore at her and chased her away.
    I have shubunkins, no koi.

    I have posted about my bees on the pond forum, so she asked for help.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  9. #8
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    Feb 2009
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    I have never seen a coy Vs. honeybee encounter and I have an 800 gallon tank with big coy in it inside a geodesic dome greenhouse with four open windows and an open door this time of the year. My apiary is less than 50 feet away and there are always dozens of bees in the greenhouse.

    Steve

  10. #9
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Bees all over my Koi pond every day bees are flying. None of my koi are two feet long though. I killed an oscar by feeding it a "dead" wasp i had swatted so i suppose a koi could get a FATTER lip. Don't think it would interfere with its day job though.

  11. #10
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    Feb 2011
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    Franklin County, PA
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    654

    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    In two instances I was able to change where my bees were going for water by providing a closer water source. I stopped them from going to a hot tub by setting up a sprinkler on a timer near the hives and I stopped them from going to a water tank by running a line from it to a bird bath that continuously dripped closer to the hives than the water tank. They still went or go other places to drink water but since closer is more efficient I think that the distance from the hives is one of the most critical factors and perhaps the scent of fresh water or the sound of it may draw the bees to it as well.
    This year I already see the bees collecting water about 50 feet from the hives when it warms up enough for them to start flying around.

    Here is the water station that I made by gravity feeding water from a tank that is fed from a spring.

    https://youtu.be/HbD9YfsMmFM
    Last edited by virginiawolf; 04-10-2016 at 12:18 AM.

  12. #11
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    Bunker Hill, IL
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    I provide a bucket of clean rain water with abundant material in it for the bees to climb on to get to the water surface.

    They pick the muddy pools 3' from the bucket that were created when i filled the bucket. They worked those little pools all day long. never saw a single flyer even look at the bucket.

  13. #12
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    May 2014
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    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Hard well water. Waterer.jpg I think it's more in the presentation. Those black pots get hot to the touch in full sun. Bees prefer a warm drink to a cold one. The nearest hive is ~5', the furthest, maybe 50'.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  14. #13
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    Mar 2015
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    St Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    My bees drink from a spring-fed creek running through my apiary. I also occasionally drink from the spring, so I've done water tests in the past. Here are aggregate results of those tests:
    Total Hardness PPM: 250-450
    Total Chlorine PPM: 0
    Alkalinity PPM: 240
    pH: 7.5-8.5
    Nitrite PPM: 0
    Nitrate PPM: 2
    Copper PPM: 0
    Iron PPM: 0

  15. #14
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Barn yard puddles.
    Mark Berninghausen

  16. #15
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    Mar 2012
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    Brandon, Florida
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    I have a bird bath and the bees will not drink from the waters edge they sit on the side where the water wicks up the concrete. I have seen bees that landed badly and have to swim to the edge.
    I am wondering how to test the types of spiked water to use to help attract bees. Unless it is very dry and there is a lack of flowers and there is no dew my bees do not go to the bird bath. Seems to me the experiment needs to be moved to where there is only sand.

    Which brings to mind. All who have fish ponds and love to fly fish a swimming bee would be a great fly to tie. And you could practice in the back yard.
    Last edited by HTC; 04-10-2016 at 05:48 AM.

  17. #16
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    Jun 2015
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    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    I would try a very mild sugar solution with maybe a drop of lemongrass oil (artificial queen pheremone).
    I did set up a watering hole with a styrofoam float, but they mostly ignore it. There is a lot of standing water back in the bush here, and we have very heavy dew overnight, so there is no shortage of water.
    One warm day last Winter when the snow was melting, I did see bees landing right on the snow and tanking up, so I guess there wasn't much condensation inside.
    This is the feeder: I made the float big enough to prevent the water from turning green. From the moment I set it up, I never had to refill it.
    water-feeder_110215_0301.jpg
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  18. #17
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    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post
    I have never seen a coy Vs. honeybee encounter and I have an 800 gallon tank with big coy in it inside a geodesic dome greenhouse with four open windows and an open door this time of the year. My apiary is less than 50 feet away and there are always dozens of bees in the greenhouse.

    Steve
    He saw the fish snack on the bee that landed in the pond, then its face swelled up

    water.jpg

    We are wet and humid here, the bees drink from the ponds anytime they are flying. There are times there are a lot more bees drinking than other times. But someone is always drinking.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  19. #18
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    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    This is a very interesting topic. No swimming pools here, but I wonder what role agricultural run-off into bees' water resources plays in their overall pesticide risks.

    I have a large pond about 200 feet from my apiary and the bees go there for water, using the emergent vegetation as perches. I'm sure a fair number wind up as frog-food. (Not to mention to the dragonflies that inhabit the surrounding marsh.)

    But I know that my bees also fly about 600 feet away to a roadside ditch for water, flying past the pond to get there. That ditch always has a small pool on the upstream side of the culvert. I'm sure there are road chemicals in that water (winter salt, and whatever they use to keep dust down in the summer). And the watercourse that requires the culvert under the road comes directly down from large fields planted in no-till, neo-nicc'd corn, with all the attendant herbicide, pesticide, and fungicide loads that entails.

    There were two groups of bees using that ditch water source, mine and foragers from a large feral hive. My bees are doing fine, but the feral hive succumbed in early winter. I am assuming they died of mites, but perhaps the accumulated stressors from their water source(s) (the tree they lived in is smack in the middle of that corn-planted area) was a contributing factor. I don't recall seeing bees leaving my pond and flying back towards the feral hive's location last summer, but I might have missed them. It would be about 1200 from their hive.

    Has anybody tried watering bees using Boardman feeders? Seems like it would save some wing-miles to do so.

    Enj.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
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    605

    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    Has anybody tried watering bees using Boardman feeders?
    No, but my girls ignored the nice watering setup just a few feet from their doors in order to fly into the bush and suck up the swamp water. It's probably not contaminated, but my setup would be a lot safer. I saw one bee all Summer, and that one landed on the float and kicked the bucket.
    I'm going to put a drop of lemongrass oil on the float and see what happens this year.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  21. #20
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    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    840

    Default Re: What is your bee water recipe??

    I have tarps with pea gravel, below the hives, last rain left a few small puddles. The bees swarmed the puddles until they were dry.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

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