This was a really dry summer. I mean really dry. I’m not big into watering, more of a cross-my-fingers-and-hope-it-rains kind of gal, but even I had to give in a few times to save most of the plants on Backfill Hill. And even with the livestock waterers hooked up to 55 gallon water containers, I was still refilling them nearly every other day.
So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when the bees started drinking from our pool. First only a little cluster by the far end – but in just a few days it was obvious we couldn’t safely use the pool. They were everywhere. Each time I took the girls out I ended up completely strung out from the efforts of trying to wave bees away from them, and everyone came back in unhappy.
I tried to look up what to do, but suggestions were mostly “too bad, cover up your pool.” So we just kind of abandoned the pool for a couple months, hoping they’d find somewhere else to drink, or maybe drink out of the waterer I’d set up in their own bee yard – nope.
Then I remembered this post I read over at honeybeesuite.com – one of the few blogs I have time to read nowadays. (You know I don’t have time for reading when I can’t even make it over to Scary Mommy, possibly the funniest parenting blog there ever was.) Rusty at Honeybee Suite reminded me that bees prefer briny (salty) water over pure water. My guess is that they seek out trace minerals just like most living things – but what do I know. No wonder the bees were rejecting the purified water I’d provided them.
I bought a $20 solar fountain off Amazon and fitted it into this little solid bottomed planter along with a bunch of stones from Backfill Hill.
I put in about 1/2 teaspoon natural sea salt per quart of water and set it on the edge of the pool right where the bees were thickest. They noticed it right away, but they didn’t abandon the pool in its favor.
So one night I sprayed Off all around the edges of the pool. In the morning they all flocked to this little bubbler instead, and day by day I nudged it about 1-2 feet further away from the pool until it was at the very farthest end of the patio. The important thing? They followed it. Away from my pool and my children. And once I added a sugar water feeder station right next to it? They absolutely flocked to it, and stayed in that far off corner of the patio and didn’t bother us any more.
So it took about a week, all told, but finally no more bees in the pool!
I plan to do the same thing next year, but start earlier. Hopefully they’ll never even notice the pool!