Bee watering hole?

Phoenix, AZ

Hi. I'm in Phoenix and have had a pond for 2-3 years. This spring, started seeing LOTS of bees, always at the same spot at the pond. Usually, from sun up until it's too dark to see, there are at LEAST 30-40 bees present (yes, I've counted). They are not the least bit aggressive and do not appear to be disturbed at all when I (with or without my dogs) hang out and feed the fish, pull weeds, water, plant things, whatever. I have watched endlessly but cannot tell where they are flying off to. I at this point assume that 1. they are just there for a drink 2. they must have a hive nearby 3. they greatly prefer pond water to pool water (most of the homes in the neighborhood have pools, including me) 4. I should count my blessings and just leave them to their own devices (hoping they are not likely to become problematic).
I have tons of flowering plants but haven't noticed an increased bee population among them compared to previous years. Do any of the bee behaviorists have comments? advice? Oh- this is urban to suburban- noone keeping bees around here that I know of. Given their mild manner, I'm assuming they aren't africanized? They look just like honeybees.


Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

It is probably a wild hive and it finds that spot to be the perfect drinking place. They normaly are not agressive and I can't imagine them becoming a problem. oney bees need lots of water to make honey.

Phoenix, AZ

thanks! I'm glad that I can just enjoy them and not worry that they'll become a hazard. Around here they tend to move into attics and do a lot of damage, as well as getting really defensive about their territory. I've had friends spend hundreds of dollars getting things cleaned up. One had 400lbs of honeycomb removed from his attic- he had seen bees "around" but until he got too close to their entry into his house and got stung, he had no idea. I have no attic or crawl space so I'm good.

I appreciate your input!

Milton, FL(Zone 8a)

The bee use the water for cooling the hive,not for "making honey".Honey is just reduced nectar with some enzymes added by the bees.They may also be gathering some minerals from that spot by the pond.Pond water is probably preferable since it doesn't contain chlorine like the pool water does..

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

Sorry, my mistake.

Phoenix, AZ

EVERYTHING needs lots of water around here lately. It's 110 degrees in the shade...doesn't seem to slow the bees down any. I moved my tomato plants over next to their oasis in hopes that they would do a little pollinating between sips.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi kandredvm,
I live in Phoenix, too and have had bees drinking from my pond for about 5 years. There is a wild hive somewhere nearby that swarms every year. I assume the bees are probably 'Africanized' but they aren't aggressive around my pond.

Stockton, CA(Zone 9a)

I've heard a couple of times that bees due use water to make honey.

From what I understood, when they first start to make it, it has all the enzymes, but it also has a large percentage of water [it's a clear color, diluted honey, during the process] that gets evaporated, by the bees fanning the hive, and it becomes the thick amber color as we know it in the store. The diluted honey is also used to feed the larvae. I'm not an expert, but I believe I seen that on PBS, and another bee site has a different type of bee that keeps a small percentage of water in it's honey..

They also can't sting if they are full of water because they can't turn their body, so they are defenseless.

A bee person told me that the water in the honey comes from flower nectar...

This message was edited Aug 4, 2009 8:00 PM

This message was edited Aug 4, 2009 10:12 PM

Thumbnail by arries
Forestville, NY

FYI Bees don't keep water in there honey they spend a lot off time dehydrating the honey. If you add water to honey it will ferments and bees like sweet honey not alcohol. Then only thing the water is used for is to cool the hive. The water is place on the back and when the bee fans its wing it evaporates and cools the hive down. Of course if you want to add water to honey and a little wine yeast it make a great wine known as mead. Arries is right about them not being able to sting because they canít turn their body, plus most honey bee wont sting unless they are protecting the hive. Out when foraging the would rather fly away after all one sting and there dead.

This message was edited Aug 31, 2009 9:16 PM

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