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Easy DIY: Bee Water Garden

By: Ashley Miller, Natural Resources Conservation Service

National HoneyBee

A bee on a flower. NRCS photo.

August 19th is National Honey Bee Day, so to help celebrate, NRCS wanted to share an easy way to help bees: building a water garden!

Bees, like people, need water to live. They use it to make honey and to keep their hive cool in the summer. Bees are very small and can easily drown, so they need shallow water to drink from. Shallow water can be hard to find, especially in urban areas.

NRCS works with farmers to help bees and other pollinators. Farmers are dependent on pollinators to help their crops and so spend a lot of time making sure that water is clean and pollinators are healthy. You can learn more about how farmers help pollinators here.

Materials

  • Rocks
  • A wide shallow bowl or tub
  • Water

1. Prepare the rocks

You can collect rocks from anywhere! Before putting them in the bowl, you should wash the rocks using vinegar or a mild soap. Rinse well.

2. Prepare the bowl

Arrange the rocks in a wide shallow bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to partially cover the rocks – the bees need dry rock to stand on.

3. Place the bowl

If you’ve seen bees in your yard, you already know where to put the bowl! Otherwise, put the bowl in a shaded location near where bees might go, like near flowers.

4. Maintain the bowl

Check on the bowl regularly to make sure it has the right amount of water. If the bowl overflows, pour some out so the bees can land. If it runs low, just add some more water.

No need to clean the rocks, the bees won’t mind.

Learn more about how farmers are helping honey bees and read seven ways to make your garden a haven for native pollinators.