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How far do honeybees travel for water?

Posted by pkponder 7b The Colony (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 19, 05 at 10:31

I suddenly have many honeybees visiting my waterfall for a drink. I have tried to see where they are going after they leave, but my old eyes are not what they used to be! This is important to me since I am an avid gardener, very allergic to bees, and I do not want to 'accidentally' disturb the hive. Where should I be looking and are there any telltale signs?

Thanks in advance, Pam.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

Good news & bad news. Good news is, they're very unlikely to be aggressive while foraging for water (unless of course, you step or sit on one). The bad news is, since they're coming for water, the nest is likely to be fairly close by (a few tens or hundreds of yards). They have an expressed preference to locate up fairly high - as in the trunk of a tree fifteen feet up, as an example (or in the eave of a house). We do have AHB (Africanized Honeybees) in our area (I'm just up 121 from you) so it would be good if the hive could be located so it could be removed on the outside chance they're the infamous 'killer bees'.


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

It's hard to find out, they can go pretty fast, it could be your neighbor, or more then a mile away....if you really want to find out, attach a very light feather to the bee, it will slow down her flight and you can follow her better.

Konrad


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

I'll keep looking for them. Thanks for the responses. Konrad, you think like my hubbie, he thinks we should attach a tracking device ;-)


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

Actually, there are ways to much improve your chances of finding their hive. Old honey hunters (or bee trackers) used a variety of 'low tech' means to discover their supply of honey. When I was a kid in the forests of eastern Kentucky, we use to dust them with white flour and you could see them fly off much better. My grandfather had several other techniques which he taught me...but who has time for such craziness nowadays?


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

Hmmm, flour wouldn't be too hard to use. It won't harm the bees, will it?


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

I found several bee trees up in Ark ozarks by watching them rise after getting a drink. They will spiral up and when they get above the tree level they will take off STRAIGHT for their tree. Mark that direction. Set a pan of water/honey/vinegar mix at right angles to their first line, as far as is convenient. When they take off from the pan mark their new "Bee Line" . Where those two bee lines cross will be their tree. Or hive.
May have to get a younger set of eyes to help. Fortunately I can still see as long as it's futher than 3ft. LOL


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

I, too, am having honey bees visiting my bird bath to drink from. Do they only build hives in trees or will they build in dense overgrowth? I have some ovregrown areas surrounding my yard that Iwas planning on trying to cut back; but now I'm nervous about discovering a hive by accident. I've tried to follow their flight as well with no luck.


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

Don't worry about honey bee swarm in the overgrowth, they build home in a cavity, like hollow tree trunk, bird/duck box, walls of old buildings etc. I'd be more worried with wasp nest in the ground.

>>They will spiral up and when they get above the tree level they will take off STRAIGHT for their tree. <<

When bees take off like this it's usually their only way out because you have trees. I have seen hives in a clearing and bees had to do the same.


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

  • Posted by arob Ontario (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 28, 11 at 16:46

My dad is a beekeeper here in Ontario Canada. he writes the Campbells Honey blog about all things beekeeping - have a look. He answered this question last year - i beleive he said bees will fly up to a mile for nectar or water.

Here is a link that might be useful: Campbells Honey


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RE: How far do honeybees travel for water?

Honey bees fly much longer distance for nectar...around 5 miles.


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