There is a colony of honeybees that currently reside in an exterior brick column of the farmhouse. It could have gone unnoticed for months, but for two things. First and foremost, my dad spied the bee activity from inside the house one afternoon. Leave it to my former law enforcement father to make such an observation. He happened to look outside a window at just the right moment and see the bees buzzing about.
The second reason is that I have been watching the water foragers for months now. I did not even know that honeybees foraged for water until discovering these beauties.
The first place I saw them was around the pink sorrel that surrounds one of my water hose faucets (at least I think it is Oxalis articulata). They would hover around the seams of the piping where water would squeeze out if the faucet was not turned off completely.
As the sorrel wilted in the brighter sun of late spring, they moved to the white bird bath that sits in a triangular conjunction of several sidewalks that crisscross the farmhouse backyard. Most days you will see a half dozen or more, perched precariously along the steep edge of the bird bath, close enough to get water, and occasionally close enough to end up IN the water. I have rescued a number of bees who went a little too far into the deep, so to speak.
Bottom line is that the white bird bath is really NOT a bird bath, but rather, it is a bee bath. And I regularly clean it out so that they have fresh water. I enjoy having them buzz around me as I work, and I always make sure they are fully evacuated before starting to dump out the old water. And once I start to refill the bee bath, I watch for the eager beavers that so enjoy the spray from the water hose that they inadvertently end up floating on the water’s surface, waiting to be rescued by me.