Water is essential for almost every living thing on the planet, and bees are no exception. Believe it or not, they use water in their honey-making process and to maintain their hive temperature. Whether you’re a beekeeper or just a bee supporter, you should consider making your property bee-friendly. Read on to learn how to set up a watering station for bees and support the bee population in your town or community.
Do Bees Drink Water?
You may be asking yourself if bees even drink water; like humans and other animals, bees drink water to stay hydrated. Aside from drinking the water themselves, bees also need a reliable water source to stay healthy and keep their colony safe. Interestingly, bees use water for other purposes aside from drinking it.
- Diluting honey: Bees eat their own honey, but it tends to crystallize or become too thick after some time. As a result, bees use water to dilute honey and make it easier to consume.
- Nourishing larvae: Nurse bees feed larvae—or baby bees—a diet of water, pollen, royal jelly, and nectar. Their diet can consist of up to 80% water on the first day or two.
- Air conditioning: When the outdoor temperatures rise drastically, the hive’s temperature also increases. Bees use a thin layer of water around the hive’s interior; the water evaporates, which works to cool it down.
After learning about all the significant reasons bees need water, you may want to add a reliable water source to your property. Whether you want something simple or more elaborate, there are plenty of options when it comes to bee watering stations.
Easy Bee Watering Station Ideas
Bee watering stations are crucial for the survival and growth of the worldwide bee population. Although bees may find their own water sources, such as rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and swimming pools, having closer options is ideal. With that said, you can help by adding a watering station to your property. Check out these incredible ideas for a watering station that’ll make your yard bee-friendly.
Fill a Hummingbird Feeder with Water
A hummingbird feeder is an excellent option when it comes to your watering station. Most stores typically charge less than $20 for a hummingbird feeder, and you can hang them almost anywhere. Simply fill it with water rather than sugar syrup and wait for the bees to buzz in for a refreshing sip of water.
Marbles and Water in a Shallow Container
Bees love water, but they can’t swim. With that said, they don’t like water sources without a spot for them to sit. Consider filling a shallow container with glass pebbles or marbles and water and setting it out in your yard. Whether it’s a frisbee, a plate, a casserole dish, or a flat bowl, your bee watering station will make a significant difference for bee colonies in your local area.
Add Rocks to Your Bird Bath
You may already have a bird bath in your garden, and you can put it to good use. While birds are excellent visitors, you can also invite bees to join. As previously mentioned, bees can’t swim; you’ll need to add rocks to the bird bath so the bees have a place to rest as they drink water from the bath.
Put Rocks in an Automatic Filling Pet Bowl
You should keep your bee watering station full at all times, which may require you to add water frequently. If you know that you tend to forget, consider using an automatic filling pet bowl. Simply add rocks to the bowl to give the bees a place to rest. As the water level decreases, the water store will automatically replace it, maintaining a constant bee water supply.
Should I Add Sugar or Honey to the Water?
You may think adding sugar or honey to the water will help bees find it, but it’s not necessarily a good idea. Believe it or not, anything sweet in the water may attract ants and other unwanted animals and insects. Plain water is the best option for your backyard bee watering station, whether it comes from the tap, hose, or rainfall.
Attracting Bees To Your Watering Station
It’s one thing to have a bee watering station on your property, but it’s another thing to attract the bees to it. Follow along to learn a few things about making your watering station appealing and easy to find for your local honeybees.
Choose a Prime Location
The location is one of the most important aspects of making the station easy for bees to find. For instance, they may have difficulty finding it if it’s too close to your home. Bees won’t go too close to any foreign structures to avoid danger; therefore, consider putting your watering station in an area that isn’t too high traffic but still visible, such as a garden or flower bed.
Use Smelly Water
Although this may seem strange, bees find water by smell rather than sight. With that said, they’ll likely ignore fresh water and look for water that smells earthy instead. Consider adding some salt to your watering station to make it appealing to the bees. You won’t have to do this all the time; once bees find your location, they’ll tell their friends and keep coming back for more.
Keep It Full
Having a watering station is only helpful if you keep it full. Luckily, rainfalls may help keep the dish full of water, but they’re not always reliable. With that in mind, you must remember to refill it regularly if your location is in an extensive drought. Bees need water during a drought more than ever, and you can be the one to help them.
Add Bits of Nature
As you already know, bees prefer water with a distinct earthy smell. Believe it or not, you can imitate a pond by adding bits of nature to your watering station. Consider putting leaves, twigs, dirt, and moss in the container to make it more attractive to bees.
Knowing how to set up a watering station for bees is an excellent way to help the local bee population. However, becoming a beekeeper is the ultimate step in saving the bees; consider bee nucs for sale in Billerica, MA, to start your own colony.