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Posted 20 April 2011

Does Guttation water have interest in beekeepeing?
A pertinent question
  (download .pdf)

 

Dear colleague beekeeper, 

WE NEED YOUR COLLABORATION!!!!

As you very well know, bees need water for their living, same as we do. It is known that they use all sources of water to fulfil their needs: ponds, puddles or the little droplets of “water” that the plants exudate. We[1] need your collaboration to gather information about the activity of bees collecting these exudates.

Young plants eliminate droplets of sap through their leaves. Science has called this phenomenon guttation. Simply put, at risk of betraying the complexity of plant physiology and its many areas still unexplained or unexplored, we can present the guttation as a mechanism involved in the "water management" of the plant. You can find a lot more detailed information in the annex.

When guttation water is contaminated by pesticides, bees collecting this water can be intoxicated. You can see this effect in the following video . However, the authorities consider this way of exposure of minimal importance because there is no information about how important this source of water is for bees. This is the reason way we are asking for your collaboration.

HOW TO OBSERVE GUTTATION?

Guttation is fairly easy to observe: whenever you have clear skies (no clouds, followed by a sunny day), at night a lot of plants will start to guttate, even if the temperature drops below 0° in the night, as it is in the early spring or in the late fall. Even frozen guttation props can be collected for testing!!

WE NEED YOUR COLLABORATION FOR OBSERVING IF THESE DROPLETS ARE FORMED IN THE FIELDS NEXT TO YOUR HIVES, AND IF BEES COLLECT THIS WATER

Therefore, the only thing you need is your camera (photo or video) and get up early! If you want to catch bees drinking, you have to be out at the apiaries before the first bees start to leave the hive. This can differ a lot, depending on the position of the hive, e. g. early morning sun on the entrance will entice them to leave quite early, even if the temperature isn't much beyond 10° yet. Here you can find a video about bees drinking these guttation droplets . Attached you have some examples about guttation droplets in different crops.

You can help yourself of a very simple table like this one:

Date

 

Temperature (approx.)

 

Localization (city, post code)

 

Crop observed

 

Period of observation

6:50-6:55*

6:55-7:00*

7:00-7:05*

7:05-7:10*

Number of bees out

 

 

 

 

Number of bees in

 

 

 

 

* According to the conditions of your area, you might have to modify these times. 

We would be very thankful if you could observe the crops around your hives, each of them a couple of days. It is vey important for us that you send us pictures or videos about with guttation droplets and bees collecting them. Please make that the date and time of the picture/video appear on the picture/video. 

Whenever you have this information, please submit it to Noa Simon simon@bee-life.eu just mentioning where you come from.

If you have any question you can contact her by e-mail or at the telephone +32 486 973 920.

Thank you for your collaboration!!!

[1] The European Beekeeping Coordination is a technical Group created by beekeeping associations of different countries in Europe to study the interaction between bees and environmental threats. You have more information about us here: www.bee-life.eu

 

See also: The corn drops of dew ... poisoned with systemic insecticides!
and Imidacloprid 'Guttation' presentation

 

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