Any ideas for getting rid of bees that are hanging out and sometimes swarming all around my poor horses' two water tubs? I don't know where they're coming from -- there's no hive on my small property, anyway, but they're -loitering- all around the water far too much for my comfort.
One of my geldings got stung last week, and I can't even bring the hose out to refill the water without it attracting even more bees.
Every time I think about going out there and spraying bee spray in the general area (but, of course, not in or near the water), there are bees still there, and I'm -not- about to wind up as the lady on the evening news who landed in the hospital with hundreds of bee stings because I sprayed them and made them angry!
So far the only unhelpful tips I've found online regarding bees around water in general were draining the water source for a few days (can't) and adding vinegar to the water source (can't). Help?
They probably are africanized, as that's what we have here. I was trying not to spend the money on an exterminator, and I also don't know what they can spray near the water that wouldn't hurt/poision the horses! But I also don't want to get myself stung multiple times, either!
I'll second calling the bee expert. We had a HUGE network of ground-hives several years ago, called this bee removal guy, and, however he did it (I don't remember, I was probably 10 at the time) found and got rid of them all.
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
you certainly could put a couple of cups of vinegar in the water... Horses don't taste the way we do, and most LOVE vinegar, and we used to use it to mask 'new water' at shows! Worth trying a cup of cider vinegar (and then of course monitoring to be sure of drinking... ) but it might surprize you...
You could make them something that works better for them - bees need a little landing platform so they can sit and use their proboscis to suck up water. A relatively shallow dish with gravel and sand (like a fake beach) at one end works well, DH used to float landscaping bark in a bucket, maybe a hummingbird feeder with plain water? Put a bunch out in areas where nobody will get bothered, if you have flat rooftops they work great, just remember to refill faithfully.
They fly about four miles max away from the hive, if yours is the only source of water then having the bees removed will only help you a little. I'd recommend adding additional sources of water where the bees and the horses won't collide.
I do have shallow water dishes outside, for the wild rabbits (yes, I do actually have SUCKER stamped on my forehead -- I enjoy the bunnies), but the bees leave those water bowls alone. We have a swimming pool not far from the horses, but the bees don't hang out there aound that water. They've pretty much moved in around my water troughs. My neighbors right next-door have water tubs out for their horses, too; why can't the bees go next-door??
I could try a "hummingbird"/bee-feeder with some water in it, too, as a distraction.
Gah, I hope they're not ground bees under the troughs. But that might explain why they reappear so quickly the minute I bring the hose out to provide fresh water.
Last summer, I had an issue with bees sleeping at night on the door to my tack room and all along the flourescent light under my mare motel roof. As soon as I'd turn the lights on in the early morning, the bees would wake up. That was solved by getting a tall ladder and a can of bee repellent during the day when there were no bees around. After a few days of spraying, no more bees. I don't know where those came from, either. I've never found a hive.
Maybe I'll try a small amount of vinegar for starters, PP... It's getting to be our hot weather, so I was worried about changing anything that might prevent the horses from drinking enough water. but it would be a really small amount compared to the amount of water in the tubs, hopefully just enough to make the bees buzz off.
They were gone for a few days because we had a relative "cold snap," but they're back again. I'm going to buy some vinegar today and try that.
Yesterday I noticed that the horses already aren't drinking as much because of the bees -- after I rode one horse, he went over to get a drink, stood there looking annoyed and sad with bees buzzing around him, then walked away without getting any water.
They're not wasps, just regular bees, maybe bigger than honey bees, or maybe our honey bees are just larger than others. I don't think they're actually under the troughs, either (but! note: I'm not checking!).
They usually do die off, or go wherever else they go, as soon as our really hot weather kicks in. As much as I'm enjoying our less hot weather, I'd welcome the furnace to make the bees go away!
Last night I poured about 2 cups of apple cider vinegar into the big 75-gallon tub, and smaller amounts into my three other muck buckets filled with water that I have around for the horses. The 75-gallon tub is the one the bees mostly swarm around.
This morning, I started to fill the big tub as usual, and as usual the bees reappeared, buzzing around. I noticed that they seemed to have gone away shortly after that, when they're usually really active around the water. There were a few dead ones in the water, and a cluster of others on the edge of the tub, just sitting there. (Can bees look sad?) After I was done riding, I looked again. Still mostly just bees sitting on the edge, a few buzzing around, but not nearly the usual morning bee activity I've seen. So, it seems to have done *some*thing!
So I wonder, were the sitting there because they were dying or didn't like the vinegar-flavored water, or were they sitting there lapping it up, saying "nom nom vinegar nom"? Will the vinegar really make my bees go away now, or will the bees just have shinier yellow coats from apple cider viegar? I'll add more vinegar tonight to see.
I didn't have on appropriate footwear last night for checking under the big tub for a ground bee nest.