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Happenings in the insect world
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."
by Liz Flowers
on August 30, 2017 at 10:44 AM
Thank you so much for the helpful information and tips to let the bees get their water safely. I often find bees struggling to get out of my the bird bath and it worries me. I have a big heart for the little things and will put a rock in the bird bath. Thank you, Liz
by Fran
on October 23, 2017 at 7:30 AM
My neighbor has bees and they are on my pool winter cover in search of water. Should I give them sugar water( flowers are gone due to frost) and for how long? Thank you
by Andre
on April 25, 2018 at 7:51 AM
Here the bees go to a lake and drink in the muddy areas of its waterfront.
by Crystal
on October 16, 2018 at 4:36 AM
I have a tub of rain water for bees. I put fish in it to keep out mosquitos. But lately bees aren't coming. Is it the fish bothering them or is it the cooler weather?
by mehran jam
on November 23, 2018 at 3:51 AM
It was a great article. Please also write about the purchase of natural honey.
by Barry Staymates
on April 13, 2019 at 6:35 PM
Interesting. Many honey bees gathering on the “pineapple” dome of my fountain. Some concern the hive may be near or on the house. Is their hive secluded or obvious like wasps?
by Leonard Belson
on May 20, 2020 at 2:57 PM
How do honey bees find a new water source? Are there "scouts"?
by Priscilla J. Brown
on January 3, 2023 at 4:29 AM
Excellent article! Thanks for sharing!
by Colleen Peterson
on April 20, 2023 at 8:10 AM
Thank you so much for this excellent information. I live in Las Cruces, NM where water sources are few and far between and I welcome bees in my bird bath. I added a large area of rocks to prevent bee deaths, and this helped a lot. We had more than 50 bees at a time in the bath and would keep a shallow level of water to accommodate them, but in the past 2 days they have not visited the bath? Makes me sad. I'm hoping that since the farmers have started flooding their fields that they are using this as a water source now, and not something more nefarious. I'm a big supporter of the pollinators.
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