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Does the idea of a “bee bath” conjure up images of bees sudsing up while wearing tiny shower caps? Unfortunately, bee baths don’t actually mean that bees are relaxing in the tub after a long day of pollinating. Instead, bee baths offer bees a way to satisfy their thirst. Yes, bees get thirsty, too!
Sadly, when bees try to forage for water from bird baths or pools, they risk drowning. Bees aren’t allowed to take swimming classes at the YMCA (a discussion for another time), so even a shallow bird bath can easily lead a bee to drown.
Bee baths are the perfect solution. They are very shallow pools of water with rocks and other natural features that give bees places to land and stand on as they drink water.
Bee baths also offer bees a chance to cool down. In the blistering summer heat, bees can become dangerously overheated and seek water to help them cool off. This is why you will see bees hanging around your pool or other bodies of water.
It’s easy to make a DIY bee bath, and there are many ways you can approach this project. If you have cracked garden pots or pots that you aren’t using, this could be a perfect foundation for a bee bath. Take an unused garden pot and turn it upside down. Does it have a shallow cavity that could be used for a bath?
If not, you can use a plate, a bowl, an ashtray or any similar dish. Now, fill the dish or pot with room-temperature water. Place rocks, shells, sticks, marbles or whatever else you desire in the dish. The goal is to give bees a place to stand while they take a drink of water or cool down. You can use decorative rocks from a craft store, or just find some stones in your yard or driveway.
This is a great project for kids to help out with, because the only guidelines are to make sure it is shallow and that you put in climbing apparatus for the bees. Watch garden guru Chris H. Olsen walk viewers through asimple bee bath tutorial on YouTube.