How to Make a Bee Waterer

A few days ago I noticed a wasp (or a yellow jacket, not 100% sure) hanging around my plastic tub full of radishes. I was kind of puzzled. I poked around under the leaves and didn’t notice a nest, so I shrugged it off. Wasps and yellow jackets are beneficial to have around your garden, they don’t pollinate, but they predate on caterpillars and other garden pests, so I was glad to see the little bugger around.

Then the next day there were two, then four. Still no nest. I watered my radishes, wilty in the afternoon heat that was being magnified by the white walls that hem in my back porch. That was when I saw it, the wasps zoomed right down and started drinking from the drops that got on the leaves. Then it clicked, I tended to water my radishes in the afternoon (in addition to my morning watering) around about the same time. They knew that and were waiting for me to come do exactly that. They were even fairly tame when I disturbed them during the actual watering process. I wasn’t really thrilled to have them buzzing around me so excitedly though, so I vowed I’d make a Bee Waterer to help them and any bees around the area.

Top view of my shiny new Bee Waterer

It’s super simple.

You just grab a pie dish or similar, wide and shallow dish. Put rocks, shells, marbles or whatever in the dish until it is mostly full. Fill with water, but don’t completely cover what you filled the dish with. That way, our bee friends can land on them and drink without risk of drowning. Bees are suffering pretty badly here in America, so anything you can do helps.

Side View
Side View

So, I’m really pleased with the dish that I managed to find at the thrift store. It is opaque ceramic, has curved edges that protect the water from evaporating and with the rocks in it, it holds about 12 fluid ounces. Unlike the clear glass bowl I was using, I only have to refill this every other day or so. This means that I don’t have to run out in the heat of the day to make sure there is actually water in it. I have a wide selection of rocks and marbles in there.

Make sure if you are collecting rocks for your waterer that you wash them thoroughly with soap and water before adding them. This will dissuade algae from growing in your waterer.

As a side note, I suggest ceramic or glass for your waterer rather than plastic or metal. Colored plastic will fade over time, and who knows how much stuff might leech out of metal or plastic into the water. Especially if it is out in direct sun like mine.


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