1. On warmer summer days, honey bees will use the water inside the hive to thermo regulate the temperature within the hive by spreading the water across the top of the cells then fanning it with air, much like the way our air conditioners work in our own homes.
2. Nurse bees also use water to produce the gelatinous substance known as brood bread, which is a mixture of pollen, honey, and water. Brood bread is then used to feed bee larvae, powering future generations of bees.
3. The third way honey bees use water is to dilute older crystalized honey back into a liquid form that they are then able to ingest. This is particularly important for beekeepers that feed bee’s crystalized sugar. Those bees may require even more water then bees that are not fed with a honey substitute.
While there is no evidence that chlorine is harmful to honey bees, its safe to say that none of your neighbors with pools want to see hundreds of bees on the edge of their pool having a drink. If your bees are in an area with access to swimming pools they will no doubt seek out that water source if not provided one of their own in closer proximity to the hive.
Bees actually prefer clean water in a mossy, algae filled environment, which leads us to the most hazardous of water sources. Agricultural water sources may hold pesticides that can directly harm the bee or be transferred to the nurse bees and finally to generations possibly contributing to colony collapse.
Here at Queen City Bee Co. we use an old food grade jug and a piece of untreated pine with the center routed out to allow the bees access to the constant drip of water flowing through the center.
While there are many ideas for providing clean drinking water for your bees, the backyard hobbyist can simply fill a birdbath with enough gravel to allow the bees a platform to drink from and fill with water, as seen here:http://abqbeeks.org/forum/topics/water-for-your-bees Every evening throughout the summer ensure your ‘Bee Bath’ is full and keep your bees happy, cool, and hydrated.