I don’t plan to use a feeder if I don’t have to but I do like the idea of having water for the bees available at the hive to prevent them from having to raid the dog bowl or nearby pools. Is there any reason to have the water separate from the hive? Could any number of the in-hive feeders be converted to just a water supply?
They could Adam, however water goes stagnate pretty quick so you would need to either replace it every few days or put a drop of bleach/chlorine in to make it last longer. Its all a bit disruptive to the hive as you’ll need to gear up and pop the top to refill.
On feeding, I never planned to feed my bees, however I have watched as they have eaten through a super of capped honey over the last couple of months, there is a very little nectar flow in my area at the moment. It meant that I couldn’t take any honey from them over the last 10 months. I used a top feeder this morning to give them a couple of litres of sugar solution as they may not make it through the winter otherwise.
Well I figure best laid plans… I may have to, I’d just prefer to let them eat what god intended so to speak. Maybe an entrance feeder would work better for water then? So I could monitor the level without cracking the hive and I could change the size of the reservoir/fill level to match what they can drink in 2 days. I’m in the desert so it’s very dry so I am foreseeing having to supply a fairly large amount of water.
Entrance feeder for water will definitely work. Randy Oliver did some field tests on using bleach in entrance feeders with great results. http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fat-beespart-4-timing-and-tummy-aches/
Another option for an entrance feeder is one of these, it sits just under the lid and the bees cannot escape while you refill (which I do at night)
@adagna, i tried various different idea for providing water before just settling on a deep dish bird feeder about 8 feet from the front of the hive i put a couple large rocks in it so that the bees have something to land on and they love it. It hit 90 Degrees F here yesterday and the bird bath was really busy, lots of activity. We have a dog bowl that i have not had a single bee in since we started with our hives. The big advantage of having a external watering method is that you can see what is happening, is there dead/drowned bees in the water that are rotting? is there any other organisms in the water? you dont have to worry about excess moisture in the hive and you can easily see when it is empty.
Where I live, excess moisture in a hive kills bees more than anything else. Perhaps you are in a drier environment but I would agree with the comments above…water outside of the hive. If you have chickens the bees adapt to fowl waterers very quick.
@Rodderick i like these feeders, though you have to be really careful, i had my bees find a small hole and had almost half my hive get into the storage area and drown. In my situation it was a poorly designed English garden hive top, but it something to be aware of because it is devastating when it happens.
I think an entrance feeder would be the best idea but you can bet the bees will ignore this and use your neighbours pool/hot tub/pond.
My bees are fond of where the livestock pee.
I wonder what it is about a pool that is so attractive to bees? I am constantly fishing them out of our community pool when I take my girls swimming. Everyone thinks I am nuts for saving bees.
I think I may just play it safe and go with the bird bath method no sense reinventing the wheel.
Bees quite like salt, sometimes the salt in the pool will attract the bees. If you do a search in this forum there have been a couple of discussions on providing salt licks.
Oh yes, it is NOT just you! We always are fishing the girls outta the pool when we are in it. My Father fusses with water sources and they all fly to the pool anyway.
Here at the house I plan on a shallow bow with a hunk of cardboard egg carton in to to give them a ramp to get in and out safely.
Saw it on a YouTube and thought it was a good idea. Change the water, change the egg crate. Easy.
I have used in-hive waterers when the bees are confined. They don’t seem to take much interest when they can fly out and forage for water…
I’ve been of the impression that the only time the bees need water is to reliquify honey crystals & during extremely hot weather.
And in early spring when brooding had started but the weather is rubbish
Bees, like all animals, always need water. In winter the collect the condensation in the hive. In summer they have to go get it. It takes a frame worth of water, a frame worth of pollen and a frame worth of honey to raise a frame of brood. It also takes water to cool the hive whenever the brood chamber starts to rise above 93 F.