Bees in saltwater pool.
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  1. #1

    Default Bees in saltwater pool.

    New to beekeeping. A friend came to me with a problem he has. He recently converted his swimming pool to a salt water filter from a regular chlorinated swimming pool to the new salt water conversion. His pool is now being inundated with honey bees by the hundreds. They are not swarming, they're just bees drinking water and getting into the pool and causing chaos with his kids. He wanted advice on how to get rid of the bees without killing them. I suggested placing a water fountain in the back corner of his property that had chlorine in it, trying to attract bees away from the pool but I also explained to him that his swimming pool is a huge attractant to these bees because of the smell and the open wind blowing it and that it was going to be very hard to draw the bees away from it. Has anyone else had this problem with a salt water pool that is giving off this particular smell that honeybees love and what did they do to remedy it? Any ideas would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,197

    Default Re: Bees in saltwater pool.

    When you say saltwater, are you talking about the little chamber next to the pump and filter that you pour rock salt into? Or is this saltwater like the ocean? The system into which one pours rock salt simply creates the chlorine by dissociating the salt into Cl2 and NaOH. Pretty much the same as pouring bleach into a swimming pool. And yes, bees love chlorinated water. The only way I know to get the bees away from the pool is to offer them a better water source, perhaps a very light sugar syrup with a little bleach added.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Bees in saltwater pool.

    My county has Beekeeping BMPs that tell us to have a water source close to the hive (ironically, the dirtier, the better) specifically to prevent this problem. Bees love water with metals and minerals in it. They love slimy birdbaths, pools in rusty fire pits, and the grotty mud at the outlet of your air conditioner. I have seen people place shallow Rubbermaid containers into the ground, fill it with something like peat moss and fill it with water to make essentially an organic mud 'pond' and the bees can't get enough of that stuff. You can also put out a salt lick that you can get from an ag supply store or a lidded bucket with a hole in the side with sea salt and sugar in it
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mooresville, NC
    Posts
    319

    Default Re: Bees in saltwater pool.

    You need a stinkier water source nearer to the bees.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    843

    Default Re: Bees in saltwater pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    The only way I know to get the bees away from the pool is to offer them a better water source, perhaps a very light sugar syrup with a little bleach added.
    I have put a bit of honey on a floating platform to try and attract bees to my water source (vs my neighbors hot tub) and it seemed to work.

    The other thing that I have found is that in the spring and fall the bees prefer warm water. To do this I put a aquarium heater in a 5 gallon bucket with some floats, some honey, and some bleach to the water. The bees used this source in the spring until my pond warmed up.
    3 Hives, Started in 2017, Learning as I go
    My data logger

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Waverly, Al
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Bees in saltwater pool.

    Could it be the bees are not only after the H2O but also the salt? Generally, saltwater pools have salt added directly to the pool water by pouring bags of salt in the pool. The pool water must have a specific salt content for the production of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) required for disinfection. The salt content is not high enough for most of us to taste, but the bees can probably sense the salt content. But, do bees need salt? I have bees and a saltwater pool within 50 feet of the hives and although I have seen the bees around the pool, they have never been an issue with anyone enjoying the pool. My bees also have access to other water sources nearby including a pond, a creek and a swamp so they may prefer the natural sources better.
    Dan

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