Bees need water too

3 Mar

"Bees Need Water Too" by Sasha, age 7

You’d be thirsty too if you’d just hibernated for 4 months.

Now that we’re consistently touching 60° in Albuquerque, my bees are out foraging and not just for pollen. The hunt for water is on! Though it’s only March, they’ve started to mob our water source, in this case a pet waterer (photos below), as they begin raising brood for the season.

How to provide water for bees in the city:

  1. Fill a pet waterer, pond, bucket, or bird bath (as illustrated by my niece Sasha) with fresh clean water.
  2. Provide rocks or floating mulch chips for the bees to land on, so they don’t drown.
  3. Be diligent about keeping the water source replenished, lest the bees move on to another source.

For urban beeks, providing a clean water source for your bees is the best way to ensure they don’t take a fatal dip in your neighbor’s pool or flash mob the dog bowl.

We’ve found a pet waterer filled with rocks at the base is the easiest way to water bees. Looks a little weird, but who said beekeeping was glamorous?

Watering your bees Watering your bees


11 Responses to “Bees need water too”

  1. K March 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Our Beehives are next to our our pond in the garden – I love watching the bees drink fro the lily pads or the edge of the pond.

  2. Pam Allee March 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    It’ll be another month at least for our bees to need water here! I always start putting it out way before warm weather so they know where to go (NOT to the neighbors!). I’m totally envious of your weather!! What is/are your bees’ principle pollen and nectar sources? What are your favorite “bee plants” (besides sunflowers)?

  3. Hemlock March 4, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    If you do a web search you will find that some beeks add essential oils & apple cider vinegar to the water they give the bees. Not so much as an attractant but as a supplement.

  4. Margaret March 4, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Our bees aren’t quite needing water yet, but they will soon. Last year they spurned the water we put out for them, and instead prefered water in an old planter saucer near the hose bib.

    • mistress beek March 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      Hi Margaret, so interesting! We’ve found that our girls like stinky swamp water as well, to the point where we’ve wondered if it’s actually healthy for them.

      • kathi March 30, 2011 at 7:30 am #

        hi fellow bee lovers… last year I put water out in my front yard and back yard for the bees because we had an extremely hot, dry summer. I noticed that bees in the front yard would visit the water, but bees in the back yard never would. Are the bees so territorial that the front yard bees stayed only in the front, and the back yard bees only in the back? I’m wondering if the front bees were conditioned to accept the water for some reason… or is it more likely that one watering location felt safe and the other had issues about where/how it was situated??? Any advice?

  5. Everyday Cowgirl March 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    I grew up in a small town called Fruitdale, SD. Which had 3 honey houses. In the early 1900’s was the honeybee capital of the world. In our small country school we studied much about bees. They are fascinating creatures.

  6. mistress beek March 30, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Hi Kathi, thanks for stopping by!

    It’s hard to tell the exact cause of your backyard water source being ignored but IMHO it’s most likely that area bees (which don’t necessarily constrain themselves to front yard and back yard) just preferred the front yard source for some reason. Maybe it was in shade? Or maybe sun? Or maybe you kept it more steadily replenished?

  7. Amy @ Homestead Revival March 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Great idea for a water source! It’s very dry here (typically) in CA and I’ve been thinking about options for my bees that are due to arrive mid April. I’ll definitely keep this in mind.

  8. steve (EbeeHQ) July 12, 2018 at 10:23 am #

    Hi there,

    I had never thought about doing it that way, particularly with the rocks, it makes perfect sense. This would even work perfectly in an urban beekeeping situation.

    Thanks for sharing



  1. warmer days « Color of Sand - March 4, 2011

    […] their green stalks up through their leaf blankets in our yard. Putting out water for the birds. And Mistress Beek, our local bee blogger said to put out water for the bees now.  I have been researching water needs […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: