Honey bees require access to freshwater sources nearby in order to replenish themselves and return home with it. Honeybees typically collect this resource close by.
Installing a small watering station can be easy and affordable, although regular inspection is necessary to keep its contents pure – at least twice per day should do the trick!
Marbles or small stones
Marbles make an excellent DIY solution for water feeders as they float freely on water to provide plenty of landing spaces for bees and provide easy accessibility in stores – not to mention having been used by people for millennia at Pompeii and Native American tribes!
Ideal conditions would include using filtered water from a stream or pond, however shallow pans or even bowl rims will do just as well as long as they do not become too deep as this could cause bees to drown in an overly full container.
Add pebbles or stones as landing areas at the bottom and along the edges, such as sticks, corks or anything that floats to encourage bees to land. Be sure to change out and clean any marbles or pebbles at least once every week to prevent bacteria or spores spreading to insects that have visited your habitat.
Honey bees don’t require an elaborate water source; a shallow pan or the plate of a clay pot will do. Just ensure the bottom is covered with sticks, marbles or corks that float so bees have somewhere to perch when drinking; this will prevent drowning if too much water collects at one time.
Division board feeders provide another method of feeding bees; these rest on top of the frame in your hive and require opening it in order to be filled up. They’re an effective way of providing support to local colonies if you don’t own one yourself and would like them to thrive.
Unless you can afford an expensive feeder, try using a gravity-fed pet feeder as an affordable solution. These convenient devices hold up to one gallon and are simple to maintain and clean – they may need refilling occasionally though; be mindful. When possible place it away from beehives so as to reduce robbing incidents.
Cork-topped water feeders provide bees with an ideal place to land and rest while drinking from their respective hives. You can also use other floating objects in the water, but keep the depth shallow so bees can reach it without collapsing into it and drowning themselves.
Some beekeepers add a pinch of chlorine bleach to water, giving it an irresistibly salty ocean scent and drawing in bees. Others mix a solution of water and sugar as an attractant; keep in mind that feeding honey bees could alter their foraging habits so monitor closely so as not to overdo it!
Studies conducted in Italy have discovered that using cork as the material for modern beehives may contribute to greater economic and environmental sustainability of multifunctional Mediterranean pastoral systems while aiding thermoregulation efficiency of beehives. Further statistical confirmation will need to occur by conducting investigations over an extended period.
Pebbles or smaller river stones
These natural river rocks can add a subtle pop of color and texture to lush landscaping, creating more appealing walkways than concrete paths.
Pebbles can serve more than one purpose; they’re not only decorative; they can help keep water clean by preventing sludge buildup and aiding with aeration in water features like waterfalls and ponds.
One study used experimental placement of rounded rock cobbles at Halictus rubicundus nesting aggregations in Logan. Female bees nestled more frequently among the pebbles than adjacent to bare soil surfaces, suggesting that practical soil modification using attractive pebble mulches may be an effective strategy to attract H. rubicundus nesting to gardens and landscapes.