by Larro Land
(Trophy Club, TX)
I had a hive in early 70's when I volunteered to
remove a swarm. It was tragic as I did not know mites...
I moved into a new development recently.
My question now is - water. Everyone has/getting a pool. I have one, and hate netting ladybugs, ants, etc.
What is best way to water the horses?
I also started beekeeping in the 1970's. And things were indeed very different back then. No mites, no Africanized bees, no hive beetles, No Colony Collapse Disorder, not as many silly laws about how/where you can keep bees, and so on.
Beekeeping is still a wonderful hobby, but no question it was easier back then. But enough of my Old Fogey ranting. On to your question...
It's an important question, too, because a single colony can use more than a quart of water on a hot day. (Or so I've read - never measured it myself!). Honey bees have a number of different uses for water, including using it to air condition their hive through evaporative cooling.
So it's important that bees have a source of water. And for beekeepers with neighbors, it's important that the water source be near the beekeeper's hives. Otherwise, his/her bees will make pests of themselves by getting water from the neighbors' pet watering bowls, swimming pools, etc.
There's really only 2 criteria for providing water for bees:
1) The water should be clean and fresh. It should be changed frequently, too. If you have a dog or a cat, you give it fresh water on a regular basis. Do the same for your bees.
2) The bees need to be able to access the water without drowning. If you just put out a bucket of water, the bees will get water from it, but many will slip into the water and drown in the process. A bucket of water with wood chips floating on top would be fine.
By providing a good source of water, beekeepers should be able to keep most of their water-foraging bees at home instead of at the neighbor's pool.
And if the beekeeper has a pool of his/her own, then providing a good source of clean water will hopefully cut down on the number of bees in his/her own pool.
Good luck, and I hope you're able to avoid having too many 'horses' in your pool!