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I've got a pond about 75 yards from my hives and assume this is where my bees are getting water. Would it make sense to put a bucket or some kind of container closer? I've got an ornamental pond on the back patio that is closer, but rarely see bees gathering water from it. I'm just wondering if you can increase honey production [and have happier bees :)] by having something right alongside the hives.
 

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Bees have preferences. Researchers have shown that bees like to take rainwater out of puddles formed by cowpatties. My own bees are watering at a rubber pan left for the chickens to drink from even tho there is a creek closer to them. Who knows how many places there are for bees to drink from?

Once in town an old fellow walked 4 blocks to complain to me that my bees were drinking from his bird bath. I lectured them severely, but they kept doing it.
Ox
 

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A beekeeper in Germany showed me his water trick. He gets a big square bag of peat moss - cuts off the top plastic and fills it with water. Then he just adds water with a watering can as needed.

If it ever stops raining here, I'm going to try it
.
 

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My bees take to the nastiest water they can find. Nice clean stream in the yard and they drink for the compost pile puddles. I think my bees are a little "slow".
 

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Are they looking for flavor? Who knows what tastes apeals to them. I put out several water stations around the yard in the hot months, but they only take when there isn't any water in the ditch.
J.R.
 

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Maybe they want water that has dissolved minerals and other nutrients in it? I'm no biologist (not a bee expert either) but I can't imagine bees being composed entirely of sugars.

[This message has been edited by Bagofants (edited June 09, 2004).]
 

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Bees are composed of pollen.


I think they like water sources with smell. They seem to like a swimming pool just as much as the puddles in the horse paddock. The swimming pool has the clorine smell. The horse paddock has the "ripe" smell. But they use smell to recruit. What they DON'T seem interested in, is plain clean water.

I think they get their nutrients (protien minerals etc.) from pollen and their energy and a few trace minerals from he nectar.

If my bees had a good source of water 100 yards away, I don't think any closer will make any difference.
 

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i suppose that makes sense - although logically, seeing as they'll choose a 'dirty' source over a closer 'clean' source of water, it might just be a little bit possible thy want nutrients from water as well lol. it was just the peat water got me thinking that is all
 

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I can't say there AREN'T nutrients, but the fact that from my observation they seem to like chlorine smelling water just as well as any other kind of smelling water, that it's the lack of SMELL that seems to cause them to avoid the "clean" water.

Also, I think the main use in the summer, when there is the biggest drive for water, is for the water is evaporation for cooling, for which nutrients are irelevant.
 

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I have watched this a bunch the past 2 years
Mine drink out of the mud holes and ditches. There is a creek running right next to their hives and they avoid it. I think they like the safety of standing on the mud or sand to drink. Given their size it's like us prefering a glass to a lake.
 

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I ripped my carpet out last year. I left the padding from under the carpet rolled up outside my house, and it got soaking wet (it rains alot here). the next day was like 85 degrees, and there was every bee in the hive on it. they used it for a couple days till I hauled it off to the dump. that carpet pad wasnt a pretty sight or smell.
 

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I took a basin, filled it with stones and then added water. Over time, the water's gotten kind of cruddy--leaves and whatnot having fallen in--and the bees just love it! I add water to the top every day and the girls come running--I don't know how they know I'm doing it, but as soon as I start the population at the watering hole triples! Every once in a while when it gets really bad, I run the water and let it overflow for a couple of minutes to clean the crud out. Here's a photo: http://groups.msn.com/BHGFriendlyGardeners/3sacharm.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=15064
 
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