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Posts Tagged: water

Honey Bees Need Water, Too!

These triple-digit temperatures make us all thirst for water.

Honey bees need water, too.

If you see them taking a sip from your birdbath or taking a dip in your pool, the "sip" means they're collecting water for their hive, and the "dip" could mean they're dying, says retired Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

"Like most other animals, the bodies of honey bees are mostly water," he points out. "Thus, they need to drink water routinely as we do.  Additionally, water (or sometimes nectar) is critical for diluting the gelatinous food secreted from the head glands of nurse bees, so that the queen, developing larvae, drones, and worker bees can swallow the food.  They use water to keep the brood nest area at the proper relative humidity, especially when it gets hot and dry outside the hive.  Water droplets, placed within the brood nest area, are evaporated by fanning worker bees and that cools (air conditions) the brood nest area to keep the eggs and developing brood at the critical 94 degrees Fahrenheit required for proper development."

On extremely dry, hot days, all bee foraging except for water will cease, Mussen says. "Under those conditions it has been estimated that the bees may be bringing back nearly a gallon of water a day."

Unlike us, honey bees cannot simply turn on a faucet. "They will fly up to nearly five miles to find a suitable watering source," Mussen says. "Suitable to honey bees might not be suitable to us, but if it is moist, it may be visited.  Suitable to the neighbors is a separate question.  Honey bees can become quite a nuisance if they visit drippy irrigation lines or hose connections, birdbaths, pet water dishes, swimming pools, fountains, or wet laundry and the like. The water foragers become habituated to those sites.  If you try to dissuade the bees by drying up the source for a while, it becomes evident that the bees will visit the site every so often so they'll be around quickly after the water is returned."What to do? "People have tried to use repellents in the water, but the bees are likely to use the odor as an attractant when attempting to relocate the water source," Mussen points out.  "Some people have had success keeping bees and wasps out of their swimming pools with very lightweight oils or monomolecular films--their purpose is to prevent mosquitoes from being able to breathe.  But, if the water is splashed very much, you'll require a new layer."

And all those bees struggling in your swimming pool? "Not all moribund honey bees in a swimming pool are there because they were trying to get a drink. Every day, approximately 1,000 old honey bees from each colony die naturally.  This normally occurs during foraging, and the bees just flutter down to the ground, sidewalk, driveway, parking lot, or whatever they were passing over.  Some flutter into swimming pools.  They are not dead, yet, so they can and do inflict stings on people who bump into them on the surface of the water. "

Beekeepers should make sure there's a watering source on their property so the bees won't hunt for water elsewhere, Musssen says. It should be available all year around. "Once the bees are habituated to the site, most of them will use that source."

One good thing to know: Bees don't like to get their feet wet. In the Garvey birdbath, we have floating wine corks just for the bees. They can land on a cork to sip water or simply sip from the edge of the birdbath. Besides wine corks, you can also use a stone, a twig or a flat chunk of cork. The Melissa Garden, a privately owned garden in Healdsburg that was designed by internationally distinguished bee garden designer Kate Frey of Hopland, includes a flat floating cork in a fountain. On any given day, you'll see bees claiming it as their own.

Honey bees find water where they can. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bees find water where they can. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bees find water where they can. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flat floating cork in the fountain of The Melissa Garden, Healdsburg, is great for bees to buzz down and safely take a sip. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A flat floating cork in the fountain of The Melissa Garden, Healdsburg, is great for bees to buzz down and safely take a sip. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flat floating cork in the fountain of The Melissa Garden, Healdsburg, is great for bees to buzz down and safely take a sip. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM

How are you conserving water?

People, animals and plants all need water to survive, yet we have less than 1 percent of the earth's water available for our use. And our water supply is diminishing. This year's record California drought conditions mean that now, more than ever, every drop counts.

The average household uses 30 percent of its water outdoors for landscaping and gardening. Inside the home, the majority is used in the bathroom. Just shortening your daily shower by a minute or two can save as much as 700 gallons of water every month!

Pool your knowledge

On May 8, 2014, we're asking you to tell us what you are doing to conserve water. Have you started to take shorter showers? Invested in low-flow faucets and toilets? Let your grass go brown or swapped it for drought-tolerant landscaping? If you're a farmer, do you use new, higher-efficiency irrigation technology?

Maybe you already are conserving water; maybe you aren't. Either way, we want to know about it—and remember, in a survey like this there's no wrong answer. Your answers will help create a clearer picture of what all of us are doing—and can do—to protect our water resources.

Build a more secure future for you and your community in five simple steps:

STEP 1: On May 8, 2014, go online and visit the map at beascientist.ucanr.edu/water. Click on the picture of the map on the right.

STEP 2: Enter your ZIP Code or zoom to your current location on the map.

STEP 3: Click on your location.

STEP 4: Use the online checklist to select all of the ways you are conserving water in your home, garden, landscape, or on your farm.

STEP 5: Attach a photo showing how you're conserving water!

On May 8, 2014, get out there and be a scientist. Tell us where food is grown in your community. Your answers will help build a healthier future for your community, and for the state.

Other ways to join the fun:

  • Are you a teacher? Educator? Parent? Youth group leader? Download our lesson plans and activities from our food activity box. 
  • Pledge a tweet or Facebook status. Join our Thunderclap campaign and donate a tweet or a Facebook status to #BeAScientist on May 8.
  • Join the online conversation by following #BeAScientist on FacebookTwitter and Instagram
  • Learn more about this project by reading our Fact Sheet.

 

Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 9:50 AM
Tags: #BeAScientist (1), conserve (1), drought (10), May 8 (1), water (63)

Drought or Not, Bees Need Water

Honey bees drinking at the Haven's custom watering stations.  Notice that the girls don't stand in water while they drink.

Many insects can obtain the water they need from their food. Bees, however, need to drink water. Honey bees use water to make honey and to cool the hive. As the weather heats up, I thought I'd review some ways to provide water for bees in the garden. This is especially important in this drought...

Posted on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 12:01 PM
Tags: drought (10), honey (1), honey bees (5), water (63)

Earth Day conservation tips come from UCCE

Substituting drought-tolerant plants and mulching the soil surface are other ways to conserve water.
Small changes in irrigation habits can result in big water savings said an Earth Day report in the Merced Sun-Star written by Thaddeus Miller.

The article focused on the Earth Day festivities at UC Merced, but the water-savings tips came from David Doll, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County. A large fraction of home water use happens in the yard. Doll said reducing lawn watering time and fixing broken sprinklers are important first steps to water conservation.

Grass lawn can use more water than many agricultural crops - including almonds, walnuts and tomatoes. Generally residents can cut back lawn irrigation and keep it green.

Doll shared a simple test to prevent excessive landscape irrigation. Pinch the soil between the thumb and index finger. If dirt crumbles and falls away, it needs water. But if it forms into a ribbon one-inch wide or longer, it can go another day or two without water, Miller reported.

Water conservation is part of the citizen science project being launched May 8 by UC Cooperative Extension to mark its 100th anniversary. On the Day of Science and Service all Californians are asked to report their water saving strategies. To participate, go to http://beascientist.ucanr.edu.

 

 

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 1:57 PM
Tags: David Doll (1), drought (10), water (63)

How are you conserving?

Overhead irrigation can help save water on farms.
People, animals and plants all need water to survive, yet we have less than 1 percent of the earth's water available for our use. And our water supply is diminishing. This year's record California drought conditions mean that now, more than ever, every drop counts.

Californians currently use an average of 196 gallons of water per person per day, including all business operations other than agriculture. The average household uses 30 percent of its water outdoors for landscaping and gardening. Inside the home, the majority is used in the bathroom. Just shortening your daily shower by a minute or two can save as much as 700 gallons of water every month!

Did you know that if everyone in the state reduced her or his water consumption by 10 gallons a month, California would save a total of 4.56 billion gallons every year?

The University of California is pledging to reduce its water consumption by 20 percent by 2020. Now we want to know, how are you conserving?

On May 8, 2014, we're asking you to tell us what you are doing to conserve water.

Have you started to take shorter showers? Invested in low-flow faucets and toilets? Let your grass go brown or swapped it for drought-tolerant landscaping? If you're a farmer, do you use new, higher-efficiency irrigation technology?

Maybe you already are conserving water; maybe you aren't. Either way, we want to know about it — and remember, in a survey like this there's no wrong answer. Your answers will help create a clearer picture of what all of us are doing — and can do — to protect our water resources.

Build a more secure future for you and your community in five simple steps:

STEP 1

On May 8, 2014, go online and visit the map at beascientist.ucanr.edu/water.

STEP 2

Enter your ZIP Code or zoom to your current location on the map.

STEP 3

Click on your location.

STEP 4

Use the online checklist to select all of the ways you are conserving water.

STEP 5

Attach a photo showing how you're conserving water!

Visit beascientist.ucanr.edu to learn more about this project and record your observations.

For an overview, see the video below:

Content of this post by the education team: Steven Worker, Melissa Womack, Marisa Neelon, Karey Winfield-Royas, Pam Kan-Rice and Jennifer Rindahl. Video production by Alberto Hauffen.

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM
Tags: beascientist (1), centennial (1), water (63)

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