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Beekeeping: begoniacrazii picture (How can I best avoid ocassionally agressive individual bees?)

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In reply to: How can I best avoid ocassionally agressive individual bees?

Forum: Beekeeping

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Photo of How can I best avoid ocassionally agressive individual bees?
begoniacrazii wrote:
Bees will hone in on a water source and then return to the hive and tell their sisters the location. Once they have the location of a constant (constant being the KEY word here) source of water they will continue to return to it.

If you are able to (for a two weeks or more) dump the water out so that the source they are using is dried up and no water at all is available, they'll stop coming. At the same time, if you can work with your neighbor to create a constant/reliable source on HIS property they may make that their new 'watering hole'.

It is a process to retrain the bees to a new source and there are a few things that you can do to encourage them to use his watering spots vs. yours. One is to add some sugar syrup to the water in the beginning to attract them (cane sugar only, not corn syrup or beet sugar - here on the west coast we use C&H brand of cane sugar)

One way that your neighbor can create a daily water source is to put a timer on a hose spigot and attach a drip tubing with 1/4" spaghetti line feeding into what ever container he's using to hold water. Set the timer to refill the container every day making sure never goes dry - Not sure how hot it is in Manifee so he'll need to adjust the timer to make sure it stays constantly full or the bees will go and source another place for water. All of the parts can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes.

The water source he provides should not be within 20-30 feet of his hive and should be located in the sun, bees wont generally drink from water near their hive - when they take their cleansing flights, they defecate near the hive and therefore wont drink the water that may contain bee poo. The bees need a perch so that they don't drown so it should be filled with cleaned gravel, clay pot shards, rocks, broken bricks, corks or something similar so that the bees can land and drink.

I was told, but have not tried it, that you can also put out a salt lick block that you can buy at the feed store and place it inside of a cinder block hole (turn the block on it's side and put the salt lick inside so that when it rains it doesn't' dissolve it) the bees often drink murky water for the minerals, hence the salt lick.

For what ever reason, my bees prefer to drink off of the ground and not so much the dish of water I have set up. I think it's so they can get the minerals from the muddy water. Go figure.

Just know that it is a process to retrain the bees to a new source and the KEY is that the new source NOT ever dry up, once it dries up the will relocate to another source which may be your bird bath.

On a side note, the bees drinking could also be from a feral source and may not be his bees at all. Either way, they should stop using your water after it's dried up for a bit.

I agree with yardener, can't tolerate aggressive bees. But there's no need to kill the hole hive though, just re-queen and wait for the next generation. It takes patience and time but seems like a better, more sustainable option.

Also you may want to ask your neighbor if he's given his bees enough space. One reason bees can get sassy is due to lack of space. They may need another super to relieve congestion. Once that happens, they calm down in a week or so. Just a thought.

Here are two photos of my watering hole. I have a drippy faucet and just placed an old clay pot saucer under the drip. I filled it with gravel and some broken clay pots that stick up above the water line. But they still want to drink the murky nasty water off of the ground.

p.s. can you share what *pure* MSM is? Sounds like something I'd like to have on hand. I get stung on occasion, it goes with the territory of being a beekeeper and even though I don't have much of a reaction any more (get the stinger out quick) some times I do swell.


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