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bees like rotten thistles?

Posted by tomfarmer CA (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 1, 09 at 15:25

Hi, I'm not a beekeeper but I have a farm and I like to keep track of the honey bees, make sure they are doing ok. I saw something that surprised me yesterday and I wondered if any of you know why this is happening.

I like to experiment with compost teas, and I made one in a 3 gallon bucket of water (about a foot across) filling it up with green thistles and water, and covered that over with a layer of cut grass to keep the water from evaporating. It sat around for a while, and it's pretty stinky, which it's supposed to do for compost tea, and now the honeybees are loving it. There are 8 to 10 on it all day long, walking eagerly over the cut grass, stopping occasionally. They don't have any pollen on their legs. Sometimes they back into the water, it looks like, and are maybe chewing on the dead grass? But for so many to be in a small place at the same time is really unusual, as far as I have ever seen.

I have compost and buckets of clean water in other places that they don't go near. Other bees and stingless bees/wasps are out and busy on blooming plants, but aren't interested in this bucket. Only the honeybees. Does anyone know why they are so interested in it?

Sorry if this posts twice, I didn't see it show up the first time.

Thanks - Tom


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: bees like rotten thistles?

I think they are sucking up water....it could be dirty but honey bees can filter it out, also, they love to sit on grass or other
debris, just to be out of the water and as long it's moist they can suck it up.

Konrad


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