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Happenings in the insect world
Comments:
by Rick Visser
on July 9, 2014 at 4:34 AM
Thanks much for this posts. Though I have not commented before, I visit nearly every post. This one was of particular interest to be because we had a very large number of honey bees visiting our heated bird bath earlier this spring. The entire edge would often be lined with bees, usually between about 10am and 4pm. As well, they were particularly attracted to a flat, round, heater that was situated in the center. I had two hypotheses about this: 1. They were eating the algae that was growing on the heater, and 2. It gave them a good place to stand while drinking. Do you think they were eating algae? When temperature allowed, we removed the heater and the number of bees diminished significantly.  
Thanks again, rv
by Kathy Keatley Garvey
on July 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM
Thank you for your email. According to Eric Mussen: "I have not heard of honey bees actually eating plant tissues. However, honey bees require 23-methychlesterol in their diets and algae have a lot of it."
by Robert Holcombe
on December 15, 2016 at 7:24 AM
New England winter hives: Can a hive be to well vented and dry so bees need to be fed water? Especially late winter?  
 
Thank you
by Kathy Keatley Garvey
on December 21, 2016 at 3:24 PM
Robert, thank you for your comment.  
According to Extension apiculturist (emeritus) Eric Musssen: "It is true that honey bees require some water or nectar any time that they would be consuming pollen and honey, since both have to be diluted to be swallowed and utilized by the bees. We tell beekeepers to ventilate their hives during the winter because the heat rising from the winter cluster is moist air. Without ventilation, the moisture accumulates on the upper-most surface of the hive. A good-sized colony population produces quite a bit of moisture, and it can condense and shower back down on the cluster."  
"If they need it, the bees usually can go up to the top of the hive and recover the water, when it isn’t frozen. They also can lick up condensate on the cooler combs at the outside of the cluster.  
"I have never heard of honey bee colonies suffering from dehydration during the late winter. As the days warm up, there is snow and ice melt from which the bees can sip, then the rains begin to fall."
 
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