Creating a Water Source for Bees

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?

Here is a video of the Water Feeder

Creating a Water Source for Bees

3 thoughts on “Creating a Water Source for Bees

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      Margaret Groot says:

      Hi Dennis, what a great question…we understand that there are folks out there who say they are not treating. To be treatment free, in our view, you would require a very large land area without any other beehives located. Some say over 15 miles is required – the premis is that in the centre you place your beehives and then let the colonies die off until no varroa are present and whatever colonies survive are bred from. Sadly, I believe that the crossover of the 15 miles would add some problems. We would love to be treatment free but for now we use only organic treatments because our aim is not to use synthetic chemicals which after the research we have read is contributing to the varroa becoming stronger by way of the surviving varroa are changing their cells to adapt and therefore more treatments are required. Our other aim is to keep working on ways to minimise the organic treatments but as yet is still a work in progress for us. Thanks for your question Dennis. Regards, Margaret and Gary …it’s the kiwimana buzz…

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    Steve says:

    Awesome tips. Indeed water is a very essential component for the survival and productivity of bees. Thank you for sharing this easy to follow and practical ideas with bee keepers.

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