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Discussion Starter #1
Every morning after feeding the pigs I like to check in on the hives. And every morning I'm amazed at how much water they haul in. I'm seeing a correlation between the level of brooding up and water hauling. In this winter that will never end, I wonder how many hives are lost or retarded due to the lack of water? Whatcha you all think?
 

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I have no answer to your question, but I am amazed at how many bees I see at the puddles. I have a large body of water next to us, but we tarped an area to stop things from growing so we can replant it. The puddles on the tarp are full of bees all the time.

So I think you are correct in how much water bees take in. As to how it affects hives I have no idea. I am sure there are some backyard colonies that are not getting enough water.
 

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I always correlate bees at the water puddles to lack of strong nectar flow. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that when I see this, hives are losing honey. I assume they are using the water to thin back the honey for feeding to brood.

In the heat of summer, fresh nectar drying down would provide enough evaporation to keep hive cool for the most part, so again, no nectar flow when they are on water.
 

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crab414:

While I am no expert on this topic, I know that many illustrious beekeepers past and present would answer your question in the affirmative.

Immediately, Mr. Walt Wright's commentary comes to mind:

"The first activity of the colony in quest of reproduction is brood nest expansion. In the early expansion period, the emphasis is on honey consumption to free up cells for more brood. Early foraging is primarily for brood-pollen and water. Water is preferred to thin honey for feed consistency. If water is not readily available they can use nectar. Those forage sources that they work for brood-pollen generally have ample nectar also. In my area, American elm and maple both have good nectar that the bees will gather if they have empty cells in the cluster. The well-provisioned colony has no need for the nectar from these sources under normal circumstances."

https://beesource.com/point-of-view/walt-wright/swarm-preperation/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all! I'm seeing two excellent points. We've had no more than ten days of good foraging days in the last month. We are close enough to lake Ontario and when the wind is out of the north it's cool and cloudy. I'm sick of the lake effect.....
This fall I left alot honey on the hives because of the weather we had last spring. I'm so glad I did! Thanks for your replies 🙂
 

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Interesting to hear about beekeeping in other parts of the world right now. I have several supers that are nearing time to be pulled. I’m hoping the cold snap we have experienced over the last 24 hours doesn’t put too much of a damper on the nectar coming into the hive....weird weather for May in East TX.
 

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It is odd. We had a frost Sat. morning and some of my colonies have 3 medium honey supers on them with 2 of the 3 being capped. We were fortunate the frost was light. It was on the roofs our vehicles, but not on the hoods.
With the opening of the flowers on the Privet, we are nearing the peak of our flow. Really odd.

That lake effect must really keep everyone on the edge of their seats. I hope it stabilizes soon.

Good luck,
Alex
 

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A significant problem which I think is way under-appreciated. There is a report form Scotland of large colonies dying due to dehydration - discovered by lab analysis of bodies. Exact cause was not reported.

I try to manage relative humidity in a hive now. No top vents, pine boxes and external insulation. I also live in a wet area, very wet this winter. Last night we had a short snow squall come through but mostly rain and fog this past winter. I almost missed the snow - right!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Robert, I enjoy reading your posts on this matter and it makes one think. That's why I love this venture called bee keeping!
I'm wondering if I can add a port in a few feeding shims to accept entrance feeders. I'll probably try a couple next winter. Maybe I'll have it where I can use it on warmish days only.
 
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