Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

How far will bees travel to water?


Hi everyone,
I have tried to find an answer to this question and have been getting very mixed answers. So how far will bees travel to get water? The reason I ask is that at my work we have a pond that is use by bees to get water, however, I work in suburban Melbourne (Australia) and I can find no evidence of hives in any of the surrounding backyards.
By knowing roughly the maximum distance that the bees will travel, I should be able to narrow down the search area and find the hive.

Looking forward to the answer.



To my knowledge bees will travel as far as necessary to source water. HOWEVER, like all living creatures, they will tend to fly to the nearest permanent source of water. Given you are in suburban Melbourne I’d expect the hive would be within a 50m radius (or less) of your pond, but it could be further if the pond is the only permanent source of water and other sources are seasonal or random.

(The above is an opinion. It is not a scientific fact)

Is there a reason you are concerned about the bees using the pond?

Also, keep in mind the fact the hive could be feral or it could even be a swarm. How persistent is the attendance of the bees at the pond?

Try watching the bees and identifying the general direction they fly off in. Bees will usually fly the shortest route, so whatever direction they generally head off in should give you an indication of the general direction of the hive.


Hi SnowflakeHoney,
No I am not concerned with the bees using the pond, in fact I think its great that they are. The problem is that I teach in a school and they are worried in case the bees sting a child and they may be allergic to the stings. The pond is part of the Sustainable Garden where we grow our vegetable, have the fruit trees and chickens the students use in their classes.
I was hoping that it might be a feral hive and that I can relocate it to where I have my hives. I know which direction the are flying, I was just trying to narrow down how far away they might be so I can search for them easier.



how good is your hearing? If it is a feral colony you might be able to hear it to help you locate it. If you take a walk in the direction the bees are flying in the middle of the day (say, between 12noon and 2pm) or later in the day (say, 4pm or later) you might hear a bit more commotion with bees returning. Those time windows, from memory, are typically when I find it easiest to hear the feral hives in the bushland not far from my house.


-if you haven’t already, try google maps - the satellite view. Usually you can see the hives from above, unless they have been camouflaged in some way or under trees etc. Feral hives are a different matter.


just going back to the question, does anybody know how far is too far for a water source for bees?
I know the further bees have to travel for resources, the smaller their body size and the less healthy they tend to be. i remember it’s a scientific concept from invertebrate biology courses in university.