Here is an update to a story we did back in 2009. The original wooden stand had rotted away, so it was time to give the water feeder a refresh and provide our bees with a water source.
Its really important to Create a Water Source for Bees during the hot summer or drought months,
Worker bees use water to control the humidity and temperature of the colony.
Also if you live in a suburban setting, providing a Water Source for your bees, can help stopping them visiting the neighbors swimming pool.
We were out shopping spotted a water feeder for cats, and I thought hey that would be good for the Bee’s to have in the kiwimana apiary, but it was $33.
How we made the Bottle Stand
So using some spare wood (Thanks Margaret) and a old water bottle, the kiwimana water feeder was born.
You just need three pieces of wood an old bottle (with a long neck, wine bottles are good for this). A plastic tray and some soil or seaweed.
I put some stones in It as well for the Bee’s to stand on, and also drilled some holes that it it rains and that happens a lot the Waitakere hills. The water would cover the stones.
Why do Bees prefer muddy water???
This is perplexed us as well, so we did some research. The first version of this water feeder had the clearest freshest water you could find. We noticed that the bees were not keen, but I noticed bees drink water from muddy puddles in our driveway.
It appears that bees are looking for nutrients and salts in dirty water, this is can cause issues if they drink water from is from sprayed agriculture fields.
There is a good paper from 2014, have read here:-
Drinking dirty water: Why do honey bees (Apis mellifera) collect agricultural water and urban runoff?