Bye bye, cool July – hello, heat!

With the temps back to more normal “summer-like” weather, the critters’ water needs on the urban homestead need to be taken care of. That includes even the honey bees. Yep, even these guys need to drink and they are attracted to any bit of standing  water especially on a HOT day! Not only does our aquaponics thingamajig provide  nourishing water to vegetables but also it’s the watering hole for our bees. To keep from fishing out half-drowned bees, Justin put a large yellow sponge on top of the clay balls and the bees just love it.  If  you sit there for just a bit, you can watch as they flock to the sponge and slurp out the water with their tiny little tongues.

It’s going to be a scorcher today.   Figure the sponge will be hopping;  bees will have to take a ticket to wet their whistles!

Bee Water Friendly

A clean supply of water is absolutely essential for the operation of a honeybee colony. Bees need a reliable supply of water throughout the growing season. They use water to cool their hives and dilute the honey they feed to their larvae. On extremely hot days, bees might spend more time carrying water back to the hive than foraging for pollen and nectar.

“A strong hive on a hot day can use over a quart of water a day, this occupies 800 workers each making up to 50 trips to the water hole a day.”

As beekeepers, it’s our responsibility to provide water for our bees. A colony is more efficient if workers don’t have to travel far for water. If you are keeping hives and don’t want your bees traveling too far to a water source, make sure to supply your hives with a nearby water source.

Orm if you already have a bird bath or fountain that attracts bees and you too don’t like seeing drowned bees,  here are a few tips to prevent drowning: wine corks; twigs woven together as little safety “rafts”;  floating water “platform” plants.

Photos courtesy of Justin….


Thirsty bees

More bees follow the scent of water

Drink up!

The buzz is out, there's a mighty fine drinking spot!

Is your garden/homestead a haven for wildlife and what kind take refuge?


  1. Lorie says:

    I’d be careful what kind of sponge you use, they must have chemical residue on them and some even soap up themselves when you first take them out of the package. ;0)

    • Amy says:

      @Lorie, You might try growing and using luffa. It’s very spongy so you can use it for basically anything that you use a sponge for. Plus the packaging is biodegradable. 🙂

      • Anais says:

        @Amy: Great idea. Luffa is definitely a good option.

  2. Annette says:

    I have birdbaths and upturned wine bottles about the yard and garden to help water the critters. Stones are placed in the baths to keep bathers/drinkers from drowning.
    I need to do more – it is hard to keep up with the water requirements, especially when we are so dry. Perhaps position another rain barrel?

    • Anais says:

      @Annette, We use the upturned bottles as borders too, folks are always asking “what are those for?” The bottles are a great addition to the garden, not only are they pretty but they do trap moisture/dew and provided a drinking spot for bees and butterflies. Thanks for sharing!

  3. DK says:

    I love seeing pics of the bees. They are so adorable and awesome. My family kept bees when I was growing up and I remember spending hours upon hours watching them come and go from the hives and follow them around in all the clover that was in our yard. We lived near the municipal boundary of a big, industrial city at the time and – to my knowledge – there were only 2 other people with 15-20 miles who also had hives. Our property was an acre and a half of what was left of the original farmstead from 1800s and I think because there were so few hives around it was essential for our garden productivity that we have our own. I miss having them.

    • Anais says:

      @DK, I know the feeling, watching bees can be memorizing. I love sitting out on the back porch and smelling the honey in the warm summer evenings. The hives are just under Justin’s bedroom window and this morning they were buzzing so loud you could hear them in the house. 😉

  4. Bonnie says:

    I made a little “bee beach” in my bird bath. I took a few rocks and made a semi-circle at the edge of it. Then I filled the semi-circle with sand. I have an adjustable emitter from my drip system attached to copper tubing that I wound around the base of the bird bath. I made a little shower over the bird bath and it comes on with the drip system. The birds and the bees both love it, and I have minimal drowned bees. It is so fun to watch them!

    • Anais says:

      @Bonnie, “BEE BEACH” love it! 😉 Forgot about rocks (love it when readers add their tips!), those are good too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Stacy says:

    Thanks for this informative post! I’m thinking seriously of keeping a bee hive and have been giving it all the serious thought it deserves and research. I’m thankful to have been shown Justin’s idea about the sponge and can see how it would sure help the little bees. Thanks again!

    • Anais says:

      @Stacy: You are welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. ~~Melissa says:

    I love how kind you are to all your creatures, great and small. //Whenever I go out into the garden, several critters seem to scurry away — squirrels, chipmunks (aka ‘chip-punks), mice, moles, all sorts of birds. This year my little pond is a haven for wasps, bees, dragon flies, water spiders, snails, all sorts of crazy looking flies, and so on. There’s one hummingbird that seems to want to land on my outstretched hand. The chickadees always come over to have a closer look at me as I hang the laundry. I feel honoured to have all these creatures in my midst. Before I started my garden, I never saw any of these guys because our land was bare/barren. Now that it’s big and wild, my home is the hub of it all. It’s a rich life, having a garden.

    • Anais says:

      @~~Melissa: Same here. This place was barren of any life… except for ants and spiders! Now there’s TONS of wildlife. Glad to hear about your little garden of eden you’ve created there.

  7. Stacy says:

    Not really pertaining to bees, but to the watering needs in more arid places… I was researching ideas for water collection ideas, found this and thought perhaps you would like to see it due to the verticle design.


  8. Taya says:

    We are fortunate to be “downtown” but next to a small horse farm and backed up to our city’s linear park. And oh, darn, the spot behind us is a big open field then the wildflower area. The trail passes by here, on the other side of the trail is a creek, then another small farm past that. We provide fresh water, sunflower seed, suet, and hummingbird food. Our long-term landscaping projects include many perennials that will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

    We have a variety of birds that includes everything from hummingbirds to Red-Shouldered Hawks and Barred Owls. The baby chickadees, wrens, titmice, and cardinals are SO much fun! I’ve seen an amazing assortment of dragonflies, wasps, and hornets. Toads, frogs, and snakes, Oh My! There is a family of foxes living next door under a pile of wood from a torn down barn. I have heard purple martins nearby, so we’ll put up the condo next year and see if they’ll let us be their landlords. There’s a whole lot going on at our little 6/10ths of an acre!

    • Anais says:

      @Taya: Wow you can say that again! There’s definitely lots of critter action going on in your neck of the woods. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Laura Jeanne @ Getting There says:

    This is really interesting. I never even thought about bees needing water. I thought they got enough from the nectar they ate. Well, you learn something new every day. 🙂

    • Anais says:

      @Laura Jeanne @ Getting There: Glad to hear LHITC has helped!

  10. Susan says:

    What a fun post! I didn’t know bees needed water.

    • Anais says:

      @Susan: Glad to share!

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