3.2.2. Water supply

Colonies need to have a sufficient and continuous source of clean water (Figs 11 and 12). Bees can have difficulties in accepting the water source provided by the beekeeper. Therefore, it is important to provide water early in the spring, just after night temperatures are above freezing, or when first establishing the apiary. If there is an interruption of water supply from the designated source, bees may find an alternative water source, and then it is much more difficult to return them to desired water source again. So the water source must be suited to the apiary requirements. Most importantly, the water source has to be protected in such a manner that bees’ faeces or dead and dying bees do not end up in the water (Hegić and Bubalo, 2006). It is not recommended to add salt or any other substance in the water. A lack of water may cause problems in digestive tract, especially to young bees intensively feeding on pollen. Also water is needed during hot weather to maintain temperature and humidity in the brood nest.

Fig. 11. Water source in test apiary. Photo: N Kezic.

Figure 11

Fig. 12. A useful water dispenser which can be connected to a water butt in order to provide continuous supply over longer periods. Note that the access to water is covered to reduce the risk of contamination by faeces. Photo: N Kezic.

Figure 12