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The water source I provided for my hive is a bucket with styrofoam pellets floating in it, and holes in the sides of the bucket near the top to keep it from spilling over and dumping the pellets when it rains. The bees have never noticed this bucket, even when I moved it right up near the hive (say 18 inches away from the front of the hive, not quite in the middle of the flight path they take).

I did a search on Beekeeping 101 here, and saw a reference to using lemon Pledge to attract the bees to the preferred water source. This afternoon, about two hours ago, I put some Old English lemon oil furniture polish (no Pledge under the sink and I didn't want to go to the store) on a paper towel and draped it over the edge of the bucket.

Now, there is more activity in front of the hive than I have ever seen; this package was installed May 6th, and there's never been too many bees to count at the entrance until today.

If the bees were going gaga over the bucket, I wouldn't have posted, but they're still ignoring it like they always have. I thought about retrieving the paper towel, but figured I would post here first to see if anybody has an idea of why the bees responded this way, or if it's a coincidence, or what.
 

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Lisa, It's not unusual for bees to ignore the fresh, clean water you are providing. They seem to have their own preference on water sources and individual bees are quite dedicated to their particular sources. They seem to be attracted to running water a little better. Some of my bees go to the birdbath, some to the rain barrel, some to the garden soaker hose and some to the mudpuddle or some other place.
Bottom line is that they will find some to use. I would keep the bucket there and keep watch. It would help if the weather was dry. Good luck
 

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Lisa,

I'm trying to get them to stop using my pool. I have 2 buckets at my well filled with water with bricks in it for them to land on. This has worked well in the past but up until now they seemed to prefer my pool (which drowns a bunch of them) I started a little water dripping in the buckets at the well and they seem to be starting to use the buckets more and more each day. Some seems to be attracted to the green slime in the buckets also. I think running water does help.
Bobby
 

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I have found that pouring a litre or so of clear, sugared, caffine-free soda into the water supply will also help draw the bees to it.

It's best if they are attracted to the prefered source before they find another, though.
 
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