Surprised how many water collectors

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Joined
Mar 11, 2021
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Location
Glossop, North Derbyshire
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
4 to 12!
I have a fair number of bees collecting water at the moment, not surprising in itself, and I have increased the number of colonies too. I'm a little surprised as they are foraging very actively at the moment so I wouldn't expect them to be using stored honey if a good amount of nectar is coming in. I realise there always seem to be a few water gatherers whatever the nectar intake - not sure why. Perhaps it's just that they are all going to somewhere I can see!
 
I have a fair number of bees collecting water at the moment, not surprising in itself, and I have increased the number of colonies too. I'm a little surprised as they are foraging very actively at the moment so I wouldn't expect them to be using stored honey if a good amount of nectar is coming in. I realise there always seem to be a few water gatherers whatever the nectar intake - not sure why. Perhaps it's just that they are all going to somewhere I can see!

Nurse bees need lots of water in order to make food for brood with nectar and pollen.
 
Likely cherry, and definitely some currant. Not all carrying pollen though.
I'd always understood nectar was dilute enough to produce brood food, and water only needed to dilute stores, or for cooling.
Most of the cherries in blossom around me are ornamental varieties .. they produce lots of pollen and some nectar but I think the amount of nectar that is available from these ornamental varieties is hard work for the bees to collect and I suspect that even those tasked with nectar collection probably get diverted by the pollen they have to pass in order to get to the nectaries.

Plus, if the hive is still well stocked with stores still they will find it easier and more energy efficient to use the stores at this time of the year. Bee colonies will be at their lowest numbers until crossover is reached and they will not expend uneceesary energy foraging for nectar if there is honey available in the hive ....

If you think about it - fresh pollen is a prime crop for them for the protein needed to rear the new bees, water is an easy forage for them .. my pond moss is covered with bees collecting water at present and only a few metres flying distance... nectar, which they will have to search for and possibly fly some distance to collect ... and then ripen in a dimished colony before it is used.

Bee no-brainer really,

In a few weeks when there is more nectar about - or for those unlucky (or lucky depending on your POV) to have OSR within range perhaps sooner .,... they will go mad for it - but the new bees will have emerged and the bee force will be stronger.
 
I do wonder whether the bees are clever enough to realise that Honey that has crystallised such as from Ivy is going to restrict the brood nest / is best got rid of quickly so the bees are storing fresh nectar and are Still actively using up the remainder of winter stores which is undesirable to keep. Just a thought with mo evidence to back it up.
 
I do wonder whether the bees are clever enough to realise that Honey that has crystallised such as from Ivy is going to restrict the brood nest / is best got rid of quickly so the bees are storing fresh nectar and are Still actively using up the remainder of winter stores which is undesirable to keep. Just a thought with mo evidence to back it up.
They might, you know. I’m finding crystallised Ivy honey on the inspection boards just now.
 
There's some honey under the cap of cells used for storing pollen, isn't there? Perhaps if that's crystallised they need a bit of water to get at the pollen or free up the cell?

James
 

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