Crowd sourcing Bee problem solutions ;)

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
So the latest installment of me versus the honey bees shows there's a strategic weakness to my prior plot, and I'm interested in hearing any and al solutions folks may concoct.

Background: We live near a river in a semi-country setting with a few acres of forest behind, and a recluse neighbor who keeps bees.

Problem: Bees apparently love chlorine (get drunk) AND salt...and by now, my well water is mostly replaced with softened water.

Second problem: I am reluctant to kill honey bees directly, OR to introduce anything lethal that might get back to and infect the productive hive. I realize I might have to shift my druthers on this.

Prior, semi effective attempts: last year, after consulting with some bee keepers, I put in a "bird bee bath" with pool water and a sponge to attract them on their water foraging on the south end of the property before they "got" to the pool. This did seem to reduce pool nuisance.

This year: forgot to replenish bee bath after freshwater storm.

Yesterday, the power went out for 4 hours in the middle of yard cleanup. So we all just floated around the pool. By dinner time, bee scouts had not only discovered pool, but had invited about two dozens of their friends.

Now nobody wants anything to do with the replenished bee pool...they instead were crawling over every floate device in the pool, every wet bathing suit, my toes, etc. ;) (This is what I get for my benevolence ;))

Here are my questions, related to how to disrupt this habituating water source:

1. Should I add sugar or salt to the "bee pool" in the hopes it will more strongly attract them? Or will it just invite more. I am told its the scent f chlorine and salt they like, but sugar trumps...

2. If I kill a few by spraying with soapy water, will that get communicated back to the hive and convince them theyre taking their lives in hand by visiting my "hostile" pool? anyone tried that?

3. Has anyone had luck with pine, spearmint scents that could be tolerated by guests and pool users?

4. Has anyone tried the "add vinegar to your pool" thing, and can humans detect the smell? The recc is 2 tbsp per gallon...would this impact chemical balance...is it just patently insane? I'm very wary of this recc, because I don't want to smell French fries every time i have a float ;)

5. Short of Tempo, which I don't want to use (but will happily use on hornets nests) is there such a thing as a detractant that is effective but not fatal?

6. Any way to tell an Africanized bee versus a regular honey bee apart from territorial behavior?

Thanks for any tips on this work in progress. It was depressing to try to rescue so many drunken little idiots yesterday...several drowned outright. They were a total nuisance but the REAL problem is that my sister comes to visit in 2 weeks and she's anaphylapic-level allergic.

Since I prefer not to kill my sister, at least in this manner, I need to engage in a full on press here!
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,049
Franklin, NC
Well, the only information I can add is anecdotal at best. Our neighbor in the NC mountains (we have 3 acres, he about 15 and his brother is between us with a few acres) lets a bee keeper store hives/colonies on his land when they are not "rented" to farmers so we generally have a bunch around. They love our hummingbird feeders. I just wonder what the sugar water does to the honey crop?

Maybe a few hummingbird feeders along the border?
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Awesome idea, Tim, thanks! I'll grab a couple while I'm out!

This a.m. They're back...about six have gone for the replenished bee pool, so I'm gonna add sugar there. The rest are clinging hopefully to the noodles on the wall rack, awaiting a fix, I suspect. I've left their favorite -- the robot -- in the pool for the moment.

I might use the soap trick on the noodlers-gang to express my territorial displeasure and see if word gets out ;)

I ave compared seasons and realize that all my significant bee population problems started when I installed simultaneously installed the noodle rack and got the robot last year...the two irresistible sources on the deck. I am thinking I may need to go back to storing the noodles in the deck box...I suspect the color is also an attractant.
 

NeedMoreSun

LifeTime Supporter
A screen enclosure :)

I just recently moved from Wisconsin to Florida, but I didn't think any africanized strains had made it anywhere that far North. No real clue though, your question on it just confused me and I HOPE they aren't all the way up there! It was the yellow jackets that always bothered me the most each Fall. I hate those and always griped that I wish they were honey bees, but we had no pool and I can see that as a major problem :(