Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Bee Hydration

With warmer weather sneaking in, it is important to have a close and secure water source.  Honeybees get warm just like us and they use water to cool themselves down.  A honeybee will bring water back to the hive and the colony will cool the space by evaporating the water through a fanning motion.  They are essentially creating air currents within the hive.  In the evening, bees will often be outside the hive sitting on the landing board, beating their wings----they are bringing cool air into the hive. The brood (baby bees) must stay between 92-98 degrees Fahrenheit and too much heat can cause wax to soften.  Water is essential for the colony so a close water source makes sense so they are not expelling extra energy just to retrieve water.

A neighbor recently knocked on my door asking if I had a water source because apparently my bees are scaring birds away from one of his bird baths (he has 3).  I wanted to retort back, "Well, get your birds out of my yard because they're eating my bees!"  (See Birds and the Bees blog entry)   Some people just don't understand bees and they think a beekeeper can "control" where they go.  I think the title beekeeper gives people that assumption.  This is just another challenge I have to overcome with the neighbors and my hives.  I really can't wait to live in the country with more space between me and the neighbors!  To answer his question, yes, I have a very large water source for the bees----my son's swimming pool!  My son actually enjoys watching them crawl around on his toys despite the fact that he's not as willing to go swimming now with the bees around.  Last year the bees didn't use the pool much because Paul was using it on a daily basis; but this year the weather has been too cool so the bees have moved in because Paul is away...

I included a few pictures of honeybees drinking nectar from the fire sticks in our yard.  The bees absolutely love this plant and so do I!  It's fun to watch them crawl around and stick their heads into the individual flowers with their butts hanging out.  Click on the picture for a closer look. 


Phoebe June 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM  

People are so unappreciative of bees.
Did you point out to your neighbor that a drink of water is the very least you could do for an insect responsible for every third bite of their food?
Yea, I know, you have to be nice.

I have been experimenting with water sources but I have not been able to predict what the bees want most. Every so often they choose a different source around the Homestead. One time it's a leak in the garden hose the next it is a pond barrel. Just when I think I know what they want they choose the opposite.
I am trying an automatic chicken waterer (the white bucket on a red tray kind) with lemon balm cuttings in it. I set it up 2 days ago,they seem to like it, we'll see.

Holly June 23, 2011 at 3:09 PM  

Hi Phoebe! Yes, the bees continue to change water preferences in my yard too. One of their favorites is water on cement. The neighbor did mention that the bird bath the bees prefer is the cement variety. I think they suck the water out of the cement since it's porous.

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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