The first time I started looking into what to do with our bees and their water source was a couple years ago when the neighbor was complaining about them in her bird bath. She said they scared her and kept the birds away. It up set her a lot and so I knew I needed to do something about it. I got a blue 55 gallon drum and cut it in half, filled it with water and thew some sticks in it. After a while the bees started using it but it wasn’t that great.
The first issue was mosquito larva. Oklahoma summer time and standing water is perfect for Mosquito larva and lots of it. We solved that by adding Gambusia Fish to it which I got from my father-in-law. Lately I have been using Rosy Red Minnows since his Gambusia Died off.
I remember reading a forum post (unfortunately I didn’t save thee link to it) but one of the posters said that the reason bees are attracted to swimming pools with chlorine and to dirty nasty pools of water is because they have a strong smell and the strong smell helps the bees tell the others where the water is.
Well we started adding Floating Hyacinths to the water sources after a friend gave me some. The bees LOVE the Floating Hyacinths and on the plus side, they have some nice flowers.
We have gone through a few iterations of watering systems. I had the barrel behind the hives and buried in the ground. Then I moved it in front of the hives buried in the ground. The most recent problem with this was it started growing something purple in the water. I think it was some type of algae. Well the bees wont touch it and it is buried in the ground so its really hard to clean it out.
We were setting up a pool for the kids and I had to get something working soon. We have had a full size 55 gallon drum that we fill with water to feed a container for the chickens we have. This make it so I don’t have to fill their water all the time. I have fish in it as well to keep the mosquito larva out.
We added some floating Hyacinths to it since we were given more. Thee Bees were all over it in a day or so. We took the kids old pool and filled it with water, added some fish and more Floating Hyacinths.
Here is the result. I took this picture this morning and there are a LOT of bees on it.
This next picture shows the relation to between the old kiddie pool, the 55 gallon barrel and the new swimming pool.
This setup has been running for a few weeks now and you can see the number of bees on the sources we setup for them. There are NO bees in the swimming pool.
I also recently learned that bees need salt as well and this is sometimes why they get into peoples faces. I plan to add some type of salt source for them later.