Set Out Water For Bees In Your Garden

Bee a Good Garden Host: Make a Bee Bath

Creating a bee-friendly garden means more than just planting flowers. You certainly want to attract them with gorgeous blooms, but while they are in your garden you will want to give them a place to collect water: a pond, fountain, or a bee bath. A bee bath is easy to make and care for in your home garden, and it’s a nice touch to set out for your pollinating guests. After all, without those busy workers in the garden, you wouldn’t have as many beautiful blooms or fresh vegetables and fruit to harvest.Bees need water too - make a bee bath for your home garden

Attracting bees to the garden is an important way to keep your garden healthy and productive. You don’t need to have a mason bee house for native bees, or keep honeybees in boxes to invite these fuzzy, striped insects into your yard. Planting bee-friendly plants and creating an attractive habitat for them should be enough to welcome them into your yard.

Beekeepers know the importance of having water available for bees. They collect water for a variety of reasons:

  • to dilute honey – bees use water to manage the consistency of honey and thin out honey that has crystallized,
  • to help with digestion – just like us, bees need water to aid in their digestion,
  • to keep the hive cool – these smart little creatures will add water to the hive and fan it with their wings, air-conditioning the space by cooling it down,
  • and to feed the babies – the nurse bees that feed the larvae need plenty of water to create the right baby food (royal jelly).

bee on spanish lavenderIn the home garden, shallow dish or bowl with some rocks in it that sits above clean water is just enough to give bees a drink. The idea is to create a source of fresh water that has places for the bees to perch as they drink and collect water.


  • Shallow dish
  • Plant pot
  • River stones
  • Fresh water

provide water for bees with a bee bath

Make it!

Choose a spot in the garden where it is protected and shady. Set a plant pot upside down to use as a base. Set a shallow dish on top of the pot. Choose a dish that is water safe like glass or ceramic, as plastics and metals may leech into the water. Add a few river stones into the dish. Add just enough water that the tops of the stones are not submerged. Change water daily and clean the bee bath weekly.Why you should be setting out a bee bath in your garden

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About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Denise Goodenough
    Denise GoodenoughMay 26,16

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t know that bees need water too. I have lots of plants to attract them and will now get them a place to drink some water.

  2. Kerry
    KerryMay 29,16

    Great idea. I have an 8″ terracotta saucer of water that I leave on my deck railing. Originally for the birds, I often find bees and wasps dropping by for a drink too.

  3. Emma
    EmmaMay 29,16

    Would it be embarrassing to admit I didn’t even know bees took baths, lol!

  4. Terri Steffes
    Terri SteffesMay 30,16

    Cute cute cute! Today’s project!

  5. Shirley Wood
    Shirley WoodJune 2,16

    This is really cute yard decor. We took a Bee Keeping class and are looking forward to beginning our new hobby in the spring of next year. We have to order our bee hives in the fall of this year. I think we learned that bees can flay as far as 6 miles away in search of water and then return to their hive. Fascinating. Many bee keepers do provide water and this is a nice way to do it. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday.

  6. Jeanne Grunert
    Jeanne GrunertJune 8,16

    LOVE IT! Bees, butterflies, all the pollinators are so important in the garden. Thanks for sharing! #HomeMattersParty

  7. James Weisz
    James WeiszJune 26,16

    Hmmm… really cool! I never knew bees need water. I just thought they collect nectars from the flowers for making honey. Gotta try this in my backyard. Thanks, Steph, for all your hardwork on sharing all these!

  8. Linda Manns Linneman
    Linda Manns LinnemanJune 27,16

    This is an awesome idea. My grandchildren and I have planted flowers to attract the bees. This bee watering container is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing

  9. Tom Blanton
    Tom BlantonJuly 24,16

    Great information. We have a fountain set into a tank covered with gravel. It would appear that bees have taken up residence in these river rocks which are always wet due to the water flowing down the outside of the fountain. They appear to be bees but I can’t be certain. Is it possible? Thanks for your work.

    • Stephanie Rose
      Stephanie RoseJuly 25,16

      Most likely some striped creature looking for a drink. Thanks for giving them water :)

  10. Jill Hanson
    Jill HansonAugust 3,16

    That is so pretty would look lovely in a flower bed

  11. Catrin
    CatrinSeptember 11,16

    I am not the greatest in the garden so I decided to make it for the bees and butterflies I’m a newbie and I will be making this thank you I never knew they would benefit from a little water too

  12. Sharon
    SharonNovember 16,16

    This looks so cute!

  13. Skippy
    SkippyJanuary 25,17

    I love this bee bath. My tap water is city water with so many chemicals that I’m thinking I should should probably boil the water first. What do you suggest? Also, you mention cleaning the bee bath once a week. what should I use to clean the bee bath that would not cause harm to the bees? Thanks for your help.

    • Stephanie Rose
      Stephanie RoseJanuary 27,17

      Hi Skippy, I’d suggest that rainwater would be best. Do you have a rain barrel?

      • Skippy
        SkippyJanuary 27,17

        Thank you for replying, I appreciate that. I don’t have a rain barrel, but that’s a good idea. I think I can make something to work. Hoping to have a small garden soon, so the rain barrel could do double duty. Thanks for the great idea. Do you have any specific instructions on cleaning the bee bath?

        • Stephanie Rose
          Stephanie RoseJanuary 27,17

          Hi Skippy. Nothing special. I use a gentle, biodegradable dish soap and water. I nail brush is handy for scrubbing off grime too. Congrats on the new garden!

          • Skippy
            SkippyJanuary 28,17

            Thanks so much for replying and for the extra help. I’ve been following your blog for a while now, have found some great information, love the garden crafts, too. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day.

  14. Lenni Cunningham
    Lenni CunninghamMarch 4,17

    will this help keep them off the Hummingbird feeders?

    • Patty
      PattyMarch 25,17

      Wouldn’t that be good, I have problems with bee’s on the hummingbird feeders too. Received a nice bird bath for Christmas, so I’ll have to see if that helps out.

  15. Luz
    LuzApril 22,17

    I just worry about mosquito larvae. Standing water is a mosquito nursery. I will try adding enough to just barely puddle at the bottom. Southern sun should dry up excess. Any other suggestions?
    Thanks for sharing

  16. Katie
    KatieJuly 18,17

    The bath in this picture looks really nice, but I would like to add one suggestion so people don’t make the same mistake I just did and end up with floating bees. I would add WAY more rocks, pebbles, marbles, etc. I wouldn’t leave any open spaces like the photo. I did one similar to the photo, with the water line well below the stones, and two nearly drowned in the open parts. :( Fill the dish!

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