Honey bees are able to fly as far as 5Km to get water. Though this is a show of some amazing fly power, they prefer to have access to water at closer distances.Bees need the water to dilute the crystalline and thin honey that has become thick and viscous. They also like to use the water to cool off when the weather gets too hot. They spread droplets of water along the edges of brood comb, and then fan the comb with their wings. The rapid fanning sets up air currents that evaporate the water and cools the nest to the right temperature for raising baby bees.Honey bees make an average of 50 to 100 trips a day for water during hot weather so you have to give them as much assistance as possible during such times. The best distance for an apiary should be one that is about 300 feet within the vicinity of a natural water source such as a pond or creek.
It’s best if you help the bees find the water source easily. Bees find their water sources through scent and not through sight; at least thats what most biologists believe. Adding a bit of unscented chlorine or salt to the water source you are creating goes a long way because the bees are more attracted to it. When you create the water source remember to put up floats for the bees, so as to prevent them from drowning. The bees just need a little of the water, but if they lean in too far they might fall in and drown or get wet. The thing about getting wet is that the bees could easily freeze to death. Placing a PVC float in your water source is a good way of protecting your bees from drowning. Obviously the float remains on top of the surface of the water, but it also has a wire mesh where the bees can rest on top. For a more economic and cost effective solution, aside from a PVC float one can also cut up sizeable pieces of sponge and allow then to float on top of the water source as a landing point for the bees too. The only problem with this is that the sponges get saturated with water and sink to the bottom. Another cost effective method is to go right into your kitchen and get those flat saucer plates, fill them with small rocks and add water to it. the rocks will act as landing points for the bees.
If you’d like the bees to have a water source in the hives you can place a division board feeder with a cap and ladder system filled with water inside the hive. This method is a good idea especially if you happen to have animals on your farm. Most farmers face an issue with bees dominating the water troughs they have placed for their animals to drink from. This can be particularly frustrating for your animals which could get stung in the process, try to escape and end up injuring themselves in the frenzy. These methods will definitely make your bees happier and they’ll be sure to thank you for it.