Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bees and water

There are two honeybee hives in our community garden. There seem to be many more honeybees this year compared to last year, when the hives were first established. The worker bees are non-aggressive and friendly. And who knew that bees like water? I certainly didn't. After doing some online reading, I now understand that not only do they like water, they need to drink water to survive. They need water just like humans need water. I've watched the bees closely, especially during these May days that are sunny, hot, and dry. The bees line up at the edge of the birdbath, drink water, and then fly away. But every now and then I find a honeybee that has drowned, and I'm not quite sure how or why that happened. I've been filling the birdbath with less water so the bees have more of the ceramic wall edge to hold onto when they drink water. I've also placed a stone with a lot of uneven edges in the center of the birdbath. That seems to have helped. But according to what I read online, some of the dead bees may have died a natural death (they only live five to six weeks during the active season) in the birdbath. But I also wondered if some of them actually drowned. So I went online for more information, and found out that bees cannot swim, and are actually experts at drowning.

I hate to see any living creature die, and if I get the chance to save bees from drowning, I'll do what I can. Today, I found a bee that had flown into my small watering can that was filled with water. When I checked the can, I saw the bee still struggling, so I dumped the water out onto the earth. The bee lay still in the grass, so I found a flat green leaf and maneuvered the bee onto the leaf. I then placed it onto the stone base of my sun umbrella. The bee was moving, but quite slowly. It seemed to need time to recover; from the time I rescued it to the time it flew away, I estimated that the entire recovery period was about twenty minutes. I was so happy when I watched it fly away. I knew it would, since its wings were not damaged. During the recovery time, the bee seemed to be trying to dry itself off. I took a video of it with my cell phone, about five minutes before it flew away; I'm posting it here.  

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