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Bee Thirsty No More

March 20, 2010

When I first met Corky to talk about bringing in Ballard Bees to my garden, he pointed out that the bees would love some of my shallow bird baths.

Honey Bee Climbing Glass Float After Taking a Drink

Honey Bee Climbing Glass Float After Taking a Drink

Yep, the bees get thirsty too. He did suggest adding woven sticks, wine corks or other items that float so the bees would have a safety raft. Apparently, they aren’t always smart about avoiding the deep end, and they aren’t the best swimmers. Result – potentially a lot of dead, floating bees in open water.

So, I endeavored to get the various water vessels in the garden ready for the bees. When I pruned my Katsura tree, I saved some twigs and wove them together over a ceramic birdbath. The colorful hand blown glass float I purchased from Glass Gardens NW during the garden show, bobs beautifully in the blue, second-hand store casserole dish that serves as Shiloh’s water bowl in the garden. In my antique cast iron kettle, I’m adding wine corks from Domanico Cellars.

Today, when temps approached 70F in the garden, the bees were thirsty.

All's Well at the Watering Hole

All's Well at the Watering Hole

And, they were using my various water safety rafts! I wish I’d been able to capture the complete picture of the honey bees contentedly sharing a water dish with both a male and female mason bee, but alas my photography skills just weren’t up to par. Just know they were there, grabbing a sip along with their cousins the honeybees.

In addition to the bees we’ve invited to live in the garden “officially”, today I saw a number of other bumble bees, parasitic wasps and flies-that-look like bees all co-mingling happily in the garden. Stay tuned; more buzz on those coming. Including photos of the parasitic wasps in action!

And, if you’re ever wanting to follow all the stories on my bee adventures, just search under “bees”. All tales will be filed there.

More on the thirsty bees including video of them drinking here.


  1. Christine B. says:

    Great idea. I’ll have to try the various life raft ideas for my bird baths so the bees can safely enjoy, too. No bees for at least a month yet though.

    Christine in Alaska

  2. Victoria Soto says:

    Wonderful idea! My daughter is doing a huge pollinator garden and this would be perfect to incorporate into the bee’s water stations! Thanks for sharing.

  3. […] has been quite prolific when writing about the topic of wildlife gardening. She has shared practical advice for providing bee-safe watering holes in your garden. Robin has also written about growing your own birdhouse gourds. I never realized […]

  4. melanie says:

    These are great ideas. I must emulate them in my own garden.

  5. […] Garden Mentors · March 20, 2010 […]

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