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Algaecides and bee safety


I have a problem in that I have a garden fountain in sun. I didn’t realize that it would cause algae to grow in the fountain. I put about half a cup of bleach in it every other week to control the algae. My neigbors and I have rented two hives for several years now, but this is the first year that i’ve noticed the honeybees drinking from the fountain. I’ve researched all over the place, including scientific research on algaecides, but apparently even the ‘wildlife’ safe ones don’t have data on their affect on honeybees. Does anyone know of a bee-safe algaecide? Is there a safe ratio of bleach to water for bees? I noticed in a previous post that someone wrote that bleach is sometimes used in the syrup to prevent it from spoiling.


I watched a video once by Cody Lundin & he recommends having a bottle of bleach in a survival kit so we can sterilize water so as to make it safe to drink.

He also recommends rat traps so we can catch fresh meat :slight_smile: anyway that’s another story.


I tried crocodile when I was up in Papua New Guinea, tradition is that if a croc takes a villager then a croc has to die and be eaten by the whole village as ‘pay back’. Cooked it looked like pork and very tender and tasty. Not like horse meat, but maybe it was an older work horse, it was really a hard chew.


I can’t say I’ve tried either Pete. I often jokingly suggest trying rat, we catch lots of them from time to time. They love my sweet corn & sweet potatoes.

Wilma says a definite NO, just in case I’m serious.


Well @boers, I see you’ve received a bunch of helpful answers already from our elder statesmen :sweat_smile: But I’ll see if I can add anything useful…like an answer :wink:

I don’t know how much water your fountain holds, but if you keep a minimum ratio of bleach to this amount, just enough to deal with the algae, your bees will be fine. Bees often drink from people’s swimming pools, with the main risk being from falling in & drowning.


The water lacks air and you can use an aerator which puts air bubbles in the water and keeps algae from growing rapidly. i have a hydroponic garden and the bees drink some of the nutrients and at first I thought it would kill them but they loved it. Maybe it’s the nutrients? If the fountain is small enough you could also change it more often? Another thing to try is look at some pond coloring. Changes the water to blue and no algae grows. I had a 1/2 acre pond and it kept the scum off the top of it. I hope this helps. :smiley:


Hi Eva, I thought I did give a “useful answer” by stating that Cody Lundin recommends using bleach to sterilize water to make it drinkable. The question I answered was “Is there a safe ratio of bleach to water for bees?”. Admittedly I didn’t answer the question fully, but that was how much I knew on the subject of bleach in water, which makes it drinkable, for humans at least.


Yes, true Jeff - but I just couldn’t resist teasing you and Peter a little for how quickly and far-out you digressed :joy::rat:


Ooops, sorry Eva. My excuse is that Jeff lead me astray !!!:innocent:


I plead guilty for leading Peter away. Is there an emoji for someone receiving 6 of the best?

However on the subject of bees gathering water: I noticed bees drinking water from a bucket that had some mulch in it that got filled with rain water. The mulch floated to the top & sat there for quite a while. The last couple of days we noticed bees drinking from it. Today I took the mulch out, the mulch had fermented, I guess in the water, turning the water into the same odor as cow manure. I finished up using the water as liquid fertilizer.

If bees are going to willingly drink that, it makes you wonder. Not like it’s hot or dry, there’s plenty of cleaner water they could have had.


Last year I gave up on maintaining my little galvanized bucket with bricks and a log in it, because my bees seemed to prefer the top tier of my strawberry pot, which became waterlogged after a week of rain…they would sip straight from the wet soil.

Earlier this year I noticed them all crowded on my front door mat, made of coir and starting to decompose - sure seems true what Michael Bush has noted, that they prefer water with a distinct scent or flavor - even chlorine!


From earthquake preparedness it’s about a teaspoon and a half per gallon


@Eva and @JeffH I have seen them getting the water from wet soil and in preference to clean water, I wonder if there are minerals or salts in the soil that they were after as well as a drink of H2O. Just a thought…