Well it’s official…. Honeybees just basically come to these buckets all day every day. An individual hangs around for multiple minutes with preference for the dryers top stuff. maybe I should stir them (I don’t). They land in a place, dab around, fly some and land somewhere else. They shack out the other buckets that aren’t overflowing (picture related, they inspect but ignore the left bucket and prefer the drier right bucket over the middle wetter bucket). These buckets were made amateurly by burning piles of brush that needed to go and quenching when it got low. Pee and probably worm tea were mixed in and I probably did some mixing and stirring a few months ago but they’ve just sat untouched since. They are under my deck in the shade.
So I guess, even though I still don’t know what they are after, minerals seems to be the most probable answer, but who knows…. ? I guess the take-away is that beekeepers would probably benefit in unknown ways by keeping such a thing around! I know earlier in the season there was another species of bee (or fly?) I noticed was loving it too, by the way. I haven’t observed bumbles or other bees landing on it, and a bumble even just came and checked out the honeybee that was currently on it before continuing on.