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How to Make a Safe Watering Hole for Bees


It’s spring and that means it’s time for nature’s critical pollinators to get busy. As you undoubtedly know, bee populations are in trouble and can use any kind of help they can get. Bees work hard this time of year and need available sources of water to rehydrate. They get this water from places like bird baths, rivers and streams, and open pools of water, but they risk drowning. You can help give them an easier place to safely drink by, as this post suggests, placing marbles inside of a shallow bath of water.

But as one guy points out in the comments on the linked page, the drawback to this design is that you have to maintain the water level (e.g. a heavy rain could drown your marbles). His bee watering hole is covered with a plastic mesh floating on wine corks. This way, regardless of the water level, the bees always have safe access to the reservoir beneath. Another variation I’ve seen is to float the bottom half of an egg carton on a pool of water. The carton will saturate but not sink, creating little islands for the bees to stand on while they refuel.

[Thanks to Susan Jamison for the link.]

6 thoughts on “How to Make a Safe Watering Hole for Bees

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  2. It’s not explained here, but the bee house is for Mason Bees. They are credited for being the top pollinator. They visit more flowers per day than any other insect. Because they don’t produce honey, the honeybees typically get more attention.

  3. Spagnum peatmoss holds 10x it’s own weight with water so mix with Coco with rainwater natrually lowers pH

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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