I love to watch our bees drink, it’s something you don’t see everyday. Long periods of time can go by without noticing any bees at all near the water barrel and then one day you wake up to find 30-40 bees all drinking at once, and they will usually spend the next several days drinking. Peer told me that this is a good indication that they are breeding. They are hauling water back to the hive. He says that they use the water to drink and also to regulate the temperature in the hive. Here is the place that our bees like to drink.
Inside the barrel we have a piece of styrofoam which is like a raft for the bees. All those black dots on the styrofoam are bees. One thing I’ve discovered is that bees do not do very well around water, they fall in and drown really easily. They do much better with this big raft. The styrofoam is not totally flat and smooth, I picked out shallow holes in the surface so that water can well up and make little shallow ponds on the surface of the raft, then they can drink in relative safety. Here are some close-ups of the raft.
That same raft has been in there for more than a year, they hold up well. You can see a bit of algae has developed but the bees don’t mind, there are many other places they could get water from, but they seem to prefer this spot.
We’ve got lots of stuff blooming in our area right now. The cherry trees started blooming over the weekend and that is when the beekeepers around here put the honey boxes on the hives. That’s what peer did yesterday. He also set up 2 of our Warre hives in the hope that when the bees begin to swarm that they will just move into one of the empty hives. We have a hard time catching the swarms otherwise, because the hives are surrounded by several really tall trees and of course when they swarm they go to the very top where we can’t reach them.
I forgot to tell you that we did end up losing another hive so we are down to three right now. The one that we thought was just weak was actually dead. The bees we saw going in and out were bees from the other hives raiding it.
and so that’s about it for now, I’ll leave you with a few photos…
These are my swamp marigolds, they live in the water-trough next to the barrel where the bees drink.
And this is my favorite picture from yesterday. These are my basil seedlings coming up.