Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thirsty Bees

Today was hot - in the 90's, sunny dry and windy.When I went out to water some recently transplanted flowers this evening I noticed bees lined up all around the rim of the birdbath, drinking.  It was a pretty precarious operation and a few had fallen in and drowned.
I fished out a couple of floundering bees and built some ramps from sticks and wood chips so if any more did fall in they might be able to climb out. Within moments, many of the bees were using the ramps for more secure footing to tank up with water.

Bees disperse water throughout their hive for evaporative cooling on hot days like this.  At the entrance of the hive,  some bees will line up facing out and fan their wings to direct a current of wind into the hive. Other bees line up facing in and fan the air backout, creating a cyclical breeze through the hive that passes over the droplets of water and evaporative cooling keeps the hive at a comfortable temperature.  So amazing!
This was the first time all summer I had seen bees drinking from the birdbath. Usually they drink from the  potted plants in the aquaponics system, and  the air traffic control there is very busy. The plants are set in a bed of gravel and get  flooded every 15 minutes, so when the water drains the bees can safely land on the wet gravel and drink.  I walked over to the pond and sure enough, the pump was clogged and not circulating water through the plants!  There was a crowd of bees in the one planter that had moisture. Poor thirsty bees!  Rog is out there cleaning the pump now. 


Linda Starr said...

I used place sticks for the insects and bees at my bird fountain too, good to see the bees taking a drink.

katiegirl said...

Bees never cease to amaze me! I'm sure the appreciated your stick ramps!