Bees are very busy little insects so something you could do to help them stay alive and keep their hives healthy is to create an accessible source of water. There are multiple reasons why water is important for bees:
- In the summer they use the water to cool the hive’s temperature down, and in the winter they use it to help de-crystalize the honey.
- The water comes into the hive and is placed in specific locations and the worker bees in the hive fan their wings basically creating air conditioning.
- On a hot day, a single hive can use up to one liter of water.
- Baby bees (larvae) need water in the hive to survive so the nurse bees can produce the proper food for them.
This project can be done with your kids at home or in a class room. The material list is very small and inexpensive.
- Rocks (medium and small)
- Large shallow bowl
- Clean water
1. Collect the rocks
Have the children collect rocks from the yard or other areas. Make sure they get rocks of different sizes. If the rocks are collected from areas that you’re not sure are pesticide free, soak them in a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water overnight and rinse thoroughly.
2. Place the rocks in the bowl
Arrange the rocks in the shallow but wide outdoor bowl (can be find online or in gardening stores). Make sure that there are big rocks and small rocks mixed in with one another—the bees need rocks to stand on to access the water.
3. Add the water
Fill the bowl with fresh water so the rocks are half covered and place it outside in your yard. If you have a flower garden, place the bowl there or close to it. Bees have a hard time finding fresh water so place it near an area where they normally travel.
4. Bowl care
There’s no need to replace the water or rinse off the green scum that may develop. Try to keep the water fresh as often as possible, this way the bees will know that it is a reliable source of water. The ideal solution would be to have the bowl near an automatic watering system.
You can use glass marbles or shells instead of rocks. Feel free to add dry flowers, branches or other natural elements to decorate this new bee drinking station.
Bowl with rocks
Example with watering hose