Do you provide drinking water for your bees?

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Do you provide drinking water for your bees?

  • Yes

    Votes: 33 50.0%
  • No

    Votes: 27 40.9%
  • Have done in the past

    Votes: 6 9.1%
  • Didn't know bees needed water

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    66
  • Poll closed .

Ian123 

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Certainly in my area the only reason for doing it would be to provide a drinking source other than a neighbours pool/pond and thus preventing a nuisance. All others find there own.
 

Beebe 

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By my observations, the easiest thing to do would be to have a chat with your local dairy farmer and ask them to save you a bucket full of cow urine (having worked in a variety of milking parlours I know how easy it would be to 'catch' some) bees semm to love it, just put a few scoops of that into your chosen 'drinking station'.
That's called "taking the piss".
 

Nannysbees 

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From our pond and I put two pots filled with gravel and water, they are all over it
 

understanding_bees 

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You can buy entrance feeders you can fill those with water.
Wilfred, what do you do?
Thank you Dani for your suggestion. In the Australian situation this would not be particularly helpful because it would require continual monitoring of every hive, and active replenishment of water when the bees had used the water. I am much more interested in a method which can ensure that the bees needs for water are met completely automatically. I have used a large stainless steel bowl which has about 20 litres capacity, and which has a floating platform on which the bees can safely land. This platform serves several purposes - it reduces the rate of evaporation of water from the bowl, it protects bees from the possibility of drowning, and it prevents contamination of the main body of water in the bowl from falling debris.

I wish to use a system which can be continually topped up from a separate reservoir of water, which is replenished daily from a garden tap which is fitted with a timer to operate the tap for a few minutes per day through the summer months. I do not know how much you need to pay in the UK for your mains water supply. In Australia, water supplied through the public water reticulation system is not cheap, and we need to be careful to not waste it. There is no need for such an elaborate system here during the winter months, but the situation during our summer months is quite different.
The questions I have been trying to find answers for are:
How can I encourage my bees to use the water which I supply for them?
How can I encourage them to find the water I supply for them?
I do not want them to travel further than necessary, nor do I want them be be a potential source of difficulty or annoyance to any nearby swimming pool owners.

The responses which seem to offer the best hope of success suggest the use of lemon grass oil, or perhaps some other sort of "flavoured water". I wish to stress that it was never my intention to provide the bees with "honey flavoured water". In my earlier post I was asking for suggestions, and wondered whether a small quantity (and I was thinking of maybe about 5 grams of honey) - placed very near to the water bowl - might provide a suitable attractant to the desired watering spot.

There were some helpful hints amongst the responses from other forum members, but many aspects of my fundamental questions remain unanswered. Some of the associated questions I have include:
How near to, or far from, the hive should the water source be?
Is it desirable for the water to be available in a sheltered spot, or are there advantages to having it in a sunny spot?
 
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Erichalfbee 

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The questions I have been trying to find answers for are:
How can I encourage my bees to use the water which I supply for them?
How can I encourage them to find the water I supply for them?
I do not want them to travel further than necessary, nor do I want them be be a potential source of difficulty or annoyance to any nearby swimming pool owners.



There were some helpful hints amongst the responses from other forum members, but many aspects of my fundamental questions remain unanswered. Some of the associated questions I have include:
How near to, or far from, the hive should the water source be?
Is it desirable for the water to be available in a sheltered spot, or are there advantages to having it in a sunny spot?
Wilfred.
You are never going to get a one size fits all answer.
You simply have to experiment yourself but what I can say is sometimes my bees use the pond, sometimes the wet grass, sometimes ditch water and sometimes the neighbour's slurry pools
What do your neighbours do?

I have removed your special remark as that adds nothing but more inflammation.
 

The Poot 

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Hi Wilfred,
Could you rig up your reservoir to say, a short length of gutter, filled with soil and moss, but with a drip feed watering/irrigation line in it? If kept out of direct sunlight it may stay damp enough to provide an uninterrupted source of water? Or if your tap opened on a timer, could it part flood the guttering to keep it wet enough without the irrigation system? Once established as a reliable source I would think the bees would use it.
 

hemo 

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Different parts of the world have different climatic conditions . . . . .
If, in the UK, you have lots of natural water supplies which the bees can use, then well and good.
But, what would you do if you lived in an environment where water was periodically in short supply? In Australia, we frequently have very long dry periods - not for days, or weeks, but for months. In times such as these there are very few natural water sources for many bees. At times like these, swimming pools and ornamental bird baths become "water magnets" for the bees.
The problem is, "How can we persuade the bees to use an appropriate water supply which the beekeeper has provided?" This problem is compounded when the bees have taken a liking to an inappropriate water source.
You may have noted in another comment in this discussion thread that in some Australian jurisdictions that beekeepers are required by law to provide drinking water for their bees.
I would like to ask those forum members who have been dismissive of this problem to try to offer constructive suggestions, rather than talking about robbing frenzies, etc.
My reply was a generic UK one typical for this country, but yes in other parts of the world where water is at a or scarce the scenario is different.
I should have taken a bit more notice of your demographic location in reply so my reply certainly doesn't take your location in to account.
 
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hemo 

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In hot arid climates your enemy is heat and evaporation, the easiest target is a larger body of water, bees/insects will go to where ever they will need to. One could try a large muddy wallow hole but evaporation will still be your enemy, giving a answer will need more expertise.
JBM will have an answer from experience in Africa and what practices are carried out there and I suspect nothing special.
 

pargyle 

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Hi Wilfred,
Could you rig up your reservoir to say, a short length of gutter, filled with soil and moss, but with a drip feed watering/irrigation line in it? If kept out of direct sunlight it may stay damp enough to provide an uninterrupted source of water? Or if your tap opened on a timer, could it part flood the guttering to keep it wet enough without the irrigation system? Once established as a reliable source I would think the bees would use it.
I think that's the only answer to his problem .. I have a garden pond - about 40 metres or so from my apiary but around the corner of the house and they frequent this a lot but I too have seen bees on damp soil and anywhere that takes their fancy. All you can do is ensure that there are sources of water around and hope that they find them ... a bowl of water filled with stones and moss if nothing else.
 

pargyle 

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Wilfred.
You are never going to get a one size fits all answer.
You simply have to experiment yourself but what I can say is sometimes my bees use the pond, sometimes the wet grass, sometimes ditch water and sometimes the neighbour's slurry pools
What do your neighbours do?

I have removed your special remark as that adds nothing but more inflammation.
But this is probably the only answer in reality ...
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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JBM will have an answer from experience in Africa and what practices are carried out there and I suspect nothing special.
You're right - site your apiaries near water sources - if there is no water, good change there will also be no forage for the bees. It's why bees in those areas tend to be migratory.
 

understanding_bees 

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Hi Wilfred,
Could you rig up your reservoir to say, a short length of gutter, filled with soil and moss, but with a drip feed watering/irrigation line in it? If kept out of direct sunlight it may stay damp enough to provide an uninterrupted source of water? Or if your tap opened on a timer, could it part flood the guttering to keep it wet enough without the irrigation system? Once established as a reliable source I would think the bees would use it.
Thank you, Poot, for your helpful response. I think that I will use a dual approach, of having a moist-soil area such as you suggest, in addition to the large bowl which I have used. There would be no advantage to having it in use all year round, indeed it would be a disadvantage to having it on during the winter months because I may create a water logged area at a time when we have sufficient rainfall. In any case, my bees stopped using the water which I had provided for them when our rainy season started. The benefit of having a slow drip watering system would be that if it was placed under my lemon tree then the tree will benefit from the soil moisture as well. There is still the problem of how to best get the attention of the bees when I start up my watering system in the warmer months. Maybe it will be advantageous to use some of my lemongrass oil to attract the bees.
 

Ian123 

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Wilfred you may regard some of the replies as flippant but your on a uk forum. For the vast majority providing water is not an issue nor should it’s source (cow pat) be an issue. You in no way need to attract bees to any water, if you provide the right conditions they will find it!! Having spent a decent amount of time in Melbourne and it can get hot. Most Aussies I know get cold down there. I’d imagine there are only a limited number of times you’d even need to think about it. The main reason I’d think any source was needed was to prevent a nuisance in neighbouring swimming pools. To sum up bees like warm water(probably not an issue for you)a sunny spot is good. The crapper the source the more stinky or dubious the more likely the bees are to prefer it😂 Don’t over complicate the whole issue or overly worry there are quite literally thousands of other aspects of beekeeping that you should be improving on before this should be on the radar. Stick a damp shallow peat tray under a dripping tap/irrigation in a sunny spot job done. It really is as simple as that! Ian
 

Erichalfbee 

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You're right - site your apiaries near water sources - if there is no water, good change there will also be no forage for the bees. It's why bees in those areas tend to be migratory.
Yes it’s why nectar sources dry up in the heat and bees are moved.
 

drex 

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In my experience, if they need the water I supply they will find it. The most important thing is, once found, not to let it run dry and they will persistently use it
 

Finman 

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In my experience, if they need the water I supply they will find it. The most important thing is, once found, not to let it run dry and they will persistently use it
I agree. In my 60 years experience they surely find water if they can come out for weater. 10 days ago we had 5-7C day temps, but now 20-25C.

What ever, I can offer them water to bees.

Bees have found water millions of years before humans.
 

Moobee 

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We provide water for the bees, and after reading a bit about bees being attracted to saline water sources, we do add some salt to the little dish they have, between the hives and they seem to like it?
I live a stones throw from the sea and all our water sources have some salt in them which they seem to love. Also imparts a slight salted caramel tang to the honey too.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I have just now drinking apparatus to bees. Does it harm anybody of you?View attachment 26045
I'm glad to see you feeding your little darlings pure spring water.
I don't understand these people who think it's acceptable to drink water out of a tap - not from a 100% plastic bottle
 

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