Honey bees do not prefer their water too clean. Like many herbivorous insects, honey bees do not get enough sodium by eating pollen and nectar. They prefer water that contains sodium over deionized water. Sodium is commonly found in mud puddles.
Dietary concentrations of calcium, magnesium and potassium are found in pollen. Bees do not seek these minerals when pollen is abundant. However, in autumn when pollen can become scarce, bees will seek these minerals from open water sources.
RACHAEL E. BONOAN, TAYLOR M. TAI, MARLEN TAGLERODRIGUEZ, LAINE FELLER, SALVATORE R. DADDARIO, REBECCA A. CZAJA, LUKE D. O’CONNOR, GEORGIANA BURRUSS & PHILIP T. STARKS. Seasonality of salt foraging in honey bees(Apis mellifera) Ecological Entomology (2016),