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Bee-Friendly, Smart Way To Provide Water for Our Pollinators

By nativeplantlover
July 29, 2016

Everyone knows that bees, wasps, and other small insects work hard to collect nectar and pollen, but did you know that, like the birds, they also need a source of water?

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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jul 28, 2016 10:22 PM CST
I added one this year. I got a double hook pole plant hanger and bought 2 hex platform feeders that have plastic inserts. On one side, I put old fruit - banana is quite popular.

On the other, I have water and the tray is filled with rocks and small pieces of broken concrete. Lotsa insects enjoy it - particularly the fruit, but also the water since it has not rained in ages and has been HOT.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jul 29, 2016 6:52 AM CST
Also, If you put any rock, small garden statuary such as a turtle, brick, etc. that will soak up the water and allow a place to perch the insects will love you for it. All birdbaths need a stone or piece of decorative pottery to increase the use of the birdbath.

Many times the birdbaths we buy are more decorative than useful to the birds. They are either too small, too deep or the material they are made of or the color they are glazed with make them too hot for the birds to stand on. Any birdbath that will get hot from the suns rays should be placed in the shade.

I keep a five gallon bucket half full of sugar water for the bees but it is important to put a small tree limb or wooden stick into it so they can climb on it if they fall in the water. They use it all summer and when I am out cleaning it they fly up to me and hover around me. I just ignore them and have never been stung by one of my hungry visitors.

It is also important at this hot and dry time of year to leave trays of water on the ground for frogs and lizards. These need to be situated in the shade as well. If you approach these ground water areas during the day you will see toads around and in them. Any type of tray will do, but if you are going to nestle it among ferns and want it to be pleasing to the eye, the tray from an unused birdbath is perfect.

During this time of year I have to water my garden in order to maintain it. Once I am through with that chore for the evening I set the hose nozzle on mist and aim it slanting upwards. Soon dragonflies are darting in and out of the fine mist and then will land on wet rocks nearby. What a treat to end a monotonous chore with a dozen or more glistening 'snake doctors' dancing in and out of the misty rainbow. Smiling

I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
Jul 29, 2016 12:44 PM CST
Great information and thanks for sharing.
Thomas75
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
Jul 29, 2016 1:52 PM CST
Excellent information. I first learned about "watering the bees" at our local beekeeping association meetings. I use the large trays from terra cotta pots. I add pebbles but (since I am surrounded by pine trees) also have a few pieces of pine straw floating on the water surface. One of the speakers at a bee meeting told us how he had watched a bee save itself from drowning by climbing onto a piece of pine straw.

One note about mosquitoes that I learned from our Mosquito Control Officer. Certain types of mosquito eggs will adhere to the (inside) sides of the container. The eggs can sit there after the water evaporates or is dumped out - the eggs can still be viable for up to 8 months - all they need is for the container to be refilled with water. It's always best to scrub at least the sides of the container to eliminate the mosquito eggs - and the eggs stick like glue!! I use one of the green scrubby pads (no soap or chemicals) and keep it attached to a nearby tree branch with a clothes pin.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: Pennsylvania Bee Lover Butterflies Dragonflies
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nativeplantlover
Jul 29, 2016 5:14 PM CST
greene said:Excellent information. I first learned about "watering the bees" at our local beekeeping association meetings. I use the large trays from terra cotta pots. I add pebbles but (since I am surrounded by pine trees) also have a few pieces of pine straw floating on the water surface. One of the speakers at a bee meeting told us how he had watched a bee save itself from drowning by climbing onto a piece of pine straw.

One note about mosquitoes that I learned from our Mosquito Control Officer. Certain types of mosquito eggs will adhere to the (inside) sides of the container. The eggs can sit there after the water evaporates or is dumped out - the eggs can still be viable for up to 8 months - all they need is for the container to be refilled with water. It's always best to scrub at least the sides of the container to eliminate the mosquito eggs - and the eggs stick like glue!! I use one of the green scrubby pads (no soap or chemicals) and keep it attached to a nearby tree branch with a clothes pin.


Hmm very interesting! I didn't know this about mosquito eggs...Great tip for handy clean up too Hurray!
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness. Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me Keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jul 29, 2016 5:32 PM CST
We all learn from each other; that's the beauty of this site. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jul 29, 2016 8:38 PM CST
I too provide a water tray for toads. I have an unglazed toad hose that I place in shade under a lilac. I usually have to place the toads inside, but I have had them stay for over a week.

And I water so much around here - every day - deck twice daily - that I have dozens of dragonflys here every day.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

NancyKVB
Jul 30, 2016 7:59 AM CST
Water is used to dissolve crystallized honey, to dilute honey when producing larval food, for evaporation cooling during warm weather, and for a cool drink on a hot day.
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: Pennsylvania Bee Lover Butterflies Dragonflies
Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Birds Spiders! Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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nativeplantlover
Jul 30, 2016 11:03 AM CST
NancyKVB said: Water is used to dissolve crystallized honey, to dilute honey when producing larval food, for evaporation cooling during warm weather, and for a cool drink on a hot day.

Wonderful! So there's much more to always keep learning about. Thanks for sharing that additional information Nancy Hurray!
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness. Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me Keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: christine
Westland, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hummingbirder
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cward10134
Aug 1, 2016 8:41 AM CST
Thank you all for this very informative site. I have a cement frog I keep to one side of my birdbath, so the larger birds have more room, and I also lay a branch across for smaller birds to land on. The bath in the backyard I'm now going to put pebbles in for the bees, making sure to keep it clean! Big Grin

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