3 adorable bee waterers you can DIY this weekend

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Pollinating plants all day is thirsty work! Luckily, we can help bees by providing them with safe havens where they can stop for a sip and a brief chat with their colleagues before heading out.

Also known as “bee baths,” bee troughs are small wet areas where our honey-buzzing friends can stop for a drink. Bees are struggling enough already between insecticides, colony collapse and climate change. It is important to help our pollinating friends.

Keep reading to learn about three easy-to-make waterers that you can put together in just minutes.


1. Saucer Style Bee Drinkers

This is probably the easiest type of bee drinker to make. Even better, they can be put together with things you probably already have at home. This means an absolutely $0 investment when it comes to crafting materials, but a huge return when it comes to taking care of wildlife.

Take a shallow bowl or saucer and a handful of small stones or marbles.

The stones should fit the scale of the saucer so that there is a surface to stand on once the water is added to the dish. My favorite type of container to use is the saucer of an earthenware pot. So many of my pots break in storage that there are always a few extra saucers lying around.

Wash the dish and the stones with hot soapy water and rinse well. Then arrange the stones in the saucer and add water. Add enough so that the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the stones. These small rocks allow the bees to stand safely while they drink.

I like to use marbles or glass aquarium “rocks” in mine because their bright hues attract bees much more easily than gray rocks.

When you’re ready, place the water in an area where bees are most likely to find it, but it’s unlikely to be disturbed by unaware animals, children, or gardeners. I like to place mine on raised areas like stumps so no one trips over them. Alternatively, you can place them among flower beds where few other beings are likely to roam.

2. A large stick with glued bottle caps or shells

This is another easy bee waterer option that does not require a lot of monetary investment. All you need is a fairly large stick, a handful of plastic bottle caps, and a hot glue gun.

Do your family members drink a lot of bottled beverages, such as water, juices, and sodas? Then save the brightly colored caps for this project.

Find a big, sturdy stick somewhere outside and cut off a pointed end. This will allow you to push or hammer it into the ground quite easily.

Then plug in your handy hot glue gun and glue the bottle caps around the stick. Try to alternate them so that there are plenty of watering points and keep them a few inches apart as you go. Hold each one in place until the glue sets before moving on to the next.

Then take him to the garden. You’ll want to place it in a lightly shaded spot so the sun doesn’t melt the glue. Once positioned (preferably among flowers, herbs or vegetables), fill each bottle cap with water.

The ridges and textures around the bottle cap will allow little bee legs to cling on so they don’t slip. In addition, several bees will be able to drink at the same time without competing for resources. This is ideal if you have a variety of bee and wasp species around.

3. Bee-sized sip cups

If you enjoy working with polymer clays like Sculpey, consider making small cup-shaped waterers for them.

Choose polymer clay in a variety of different shades and roll the pieces into cylinders. Try to make them about 6 inches long. Next, form one end into a cup shape so that it is quite thick, but has a sunken depression. Basically, you’re making what looks like a golf peg, but with a much longer shaft.

Bake them according to package directions, then let them cool completely. Once they have hardened and cooled, take them out into the garden and push them into the ground where you want them. I’ve put them in pots of herbs and flowers, but they also look great in rock gardens, among creepers, etc.

You can make the rods as long as you want so you have staggered heights as you go. Try to make sure the cups are at least 2 inches above floor level, although you can go as high as you want.

These look amazing when grouped together in a range of different sizes and colors.

Every time you water your plants, these little cups also collect moisture. The polymer has enough texture for the bees to grab hold of the cups, and the drinkers themselves look like adorable little bee-sized cups.

How to take care of your bee waterers

You probably already know that standing water attracts mosquitoes as an attractive nesting site. Since none of us want to see these insects thrive, be sure to change the water regularly.

Additionally, changing the water and cleaning the container (and everything in it) will also eliminate harmful bacteria and algae. Our goal is to keep bees healthy, not to contribute to their demise, right?

Once a week, empty all the liquid from your water troughs into the garden. Then bring them back inside and soak them in a basin of hot soapy water. You can even add a splash of vinegar or peroxide to the water if you like.

Scrub everything with a cleaning brush or an old toothbrush and let it dry in the sun. Once completely dry, reassemble the whole thing in its original place and fill it with fresh water.

If you made bottle caps or shell-shaped waterers, you can rub them on the outside instead. Just use a toothbrush and dish soap to scrub all the little bits well. Then rinse thoroughly and let dry before filling.

Check waterers once a day to make sure they haven’t evaporated. Then refill as needed to ensure your bee friends always have a place to drink.

Make the bees in your neighborhood happy

You can make your waterers more attractive to a variety of species by providing ideal locations. For example, nest the waterers in an area where there are plenty of native flower species. Their bright colors and irresistible nectar will attract bees.

Then, once they have drunk and rolled in the pollen, they can rehydrate nearby before returning to their nests.

If you want to repel as many mosquitoes as possible, you can also plant repellent species nearby. Plant lemon balm, lemongrass, thyme, lavender, catnip, lemon balm (Monarda ), and marigolds might help keep them at bay.

By installing these bee waterers, all kinds of species will be able to stay well hydrated while they go about their daily work. As a bonus, you won’t just get bee visitors: butterflies, moths, and even hummingbirds can also appear.

You’ll improve the health and well-being of your entire local ecosystem just by giving a few small insects a sip of water.

Isn’t it amazing?

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