Watering Bees

Many backyard beekeepers seem to go into a panic about providing water for their bees. I don’t see how it’s even a problem in a wet place like Newfoundland. But I guess we have dry spells from time to time and it might be a good idea to keep water out for the bees so they don’t congregate around some neighbour’s swimming pool.

A bucket of water and peat moss. It might work after the peat has begun to rot, but I gave up on it.



In my experience, the magic ingredient is stinky dirt or pieces of half rotten wood that can float in the water — something that gives off an odour that’s attractive to the bees. That black earth boggy compost smell seems to be a winner with most of the honey bees I’ve known. Also, the more money and the more effort that’s put into creating a source of water for the bees, the less likely they are to use it.

I’ve written about this before, but for me, the chicken waterer works well because it can hold water that will last for days (much larger chicken waterers about the size a bucket probably work even better), though a large terracotta clay plate full of sticks and rocks does a pretty good job too.

A bowl full of marbles and water is a pretty way to provide water for bees if you can fill it every day. I still think anything with stinky dirt works best.

2 thoughts on “Watering Bees

  1. I have the exact chicken water feeder. The bees totally ignored it. Thought they would be interested in it ….a few rocks to perch on …nothing . Hadn’t thought of something smelly to attract them …
    good point ! ….girls like “perfume” ! Hahahahaha. Getting late in the season but I’ll give it a try with sticks and moss. Thanks for my “ light bulb moment”

  2. That’s the thing. You can set up a fancy watering station for the bees, but they’re more likely to take a drink from a dirty puddle in a ditch. They definitely prefer stinky water over clean tap water, though. Lots of vitamins and minerals in that dirt.

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