I opened up the Valentinium today to insert the three frames we took from the Benedictium yesterday.
There are presently three water containers out by the hives. The shallow bird bath, the orange bucket, and a new blue bucket. The old blue bucket had a leak, it turns out. The bees are drinking deeply from all three, with the orange bucket being their favorite.
I had never seen a bee in the orange bucket before. I wonder what changed? My theory is that somebody covered their swimming pool, and the bees have been forced to find a new favorite, and by an amazing coincidence, just happened to stumble onto the water I've been providing them since April. There are a lot of bees there now.
All the aquaria have sticks and bits of wood in them for the bees to grab onto if they fall in, and I can always see a bunch of bees hanging out on that wood. The wood is always damp for a few millimeters above the water line, and that seems to be the favorite place for the bees to drink. The apiariulus observed this, and pulled a few grape leaves off a nearby vine and placed them into the buckets, "so the bees can be happy," he said. I indulged him; what harm could it do? It turns out he was right on. The bees love the grape leaves, sitting on them like frogs on a lily pad, and drinking from the water.
Our three aquaria:
Close up of the orange. Note the bee on the leaf:
Close up of the blue:
Overview. The Valentinium is in the foreground, the Benedictium in the back: