How to Make a Bee Watering Station

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If you have a small backyard space or garden, you can enjoy helping bees. Using bee friendly gardening techniques can make a big difference for our bees, wasps and other beneficial insects. But, there are other ways you can help. Bees and other pollinators need water. Here is one cute idea to make a homemade bee watering station with a clay pot and saucer.

Homemade bee watering station sitting on large rock in a garden image.

Homemade Bee Water Station with Clay Pots

The garden is a place of beauty and it is a lot of fun to welcome visitors. Whether a formal garden with manicured hedges and roses or a backyard vegetable garden-pollinators will come to visit.

Of course, if you have a large space, perhaps you can create a meadow of wildflowers for bees. But, you don’t have to have a huge patch of flowers for honey bees.

Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and others will come in search of food. Don’t forget to include a variety of blooming plants.

This provides different kinds of nectar and pollen for foraging bees. A diverse diet helps keep them healthy.

Also, a well-designed bee garden can be a beautiful and relaxing place for you too. But, before you finish with your pollinator garden – don’t forget water.

It is always a good idea to include a bee watering station – because insects get thirsty too!

Bees Need Nectar, Pollen and Water too!

We have all read about the different things bees collect. Buzzy bees (honey and bumble) gathering pollen and plant nectar from flowers is a common site.

However, pollinators need more than food and shelter, they need water too. They do a good job of seeking out water sources. However, there is no reason you should not offer a drink for thirsty bees.

Honey bees collect water and take it back to their colony but they do not store water inside the hive. It must be collected as needed.

Inside the hive, some bees are designated to serve a mini water tanks. They move around inside the hive offering water where it is needed.

Water is used to thin thick honey-this makes it easier to consume. Water is also used to help control the temperature and humidity inside the hive.

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Terra cotta pot painted with designs and saucer for water.

Clay Pot Pollinator Watering Station

While there are many ways to provide water. This idea for a bee watering station is special because it involves using clay pots. Clay pots are a traditional favorite for many gardeners – including my Granny.

Materials Needed

You don’t need a lot of items to complete this project – perhaps you already have some on hand.

  • terra cotta clay pot 8″ (at least) with big saucer
  • paint
  • sealer
  • rocks or small pebbles

A medium sized clay pot and saucer will create a colorful bee water station that will look nice for years.

The bigger the saucer – the more water for bees it will hold. But, the more room it requires too so use my measurements as a guide but choose what you think looks good for your space.

Decorate it however you wish, paint it or leave it natural. It looks lovely in any corner of the garden. A bold bright color will make it stand out while the neutral tans and greens allow the water station to blend. Either one is fine, because thirsty bees will smell the water and come to drink.

If you spray the finished pieces with clear sealer, the paint will stay bright and beautiful for a longer time. But, if you live in a region with bitter Winter weather – there is no reason not to bring it inside.

Honey bees are notorious for their ability to drown. Gather or buy some small pebbles to place in the saucer so the bees can drink safely.

Large rocks placed in clay pot bee water station for safety.

How to Use

You can use any size clay pot but 8″ in the smallest size desirable. Smaller saucers contain less water so think big.

Your bee watering station should be emptied and refilled occasionally to keep the water clean and fresh. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, it is okay to let it fill with rainwater.

Do be sure to provide a safe, shallow drinking place for visiting bees and butterflies.

This bee garden craft is as fun as it is practical. For a thirsty bee or butterfly – every drop counts.  If you are really enjoying creating with terra cotta…. consider this easy bee themed terra cotta candy dish. That one is for your treats!

More Bee Water Ideas

A small water source like this is beneficial for area bees, wasps, butterflies, etc. And, it makes a cute addition to your garden or gift for bee loving friends.

For the smaller kids – a popular craft is creating a simple DIY bee waterer using a wide saucer and colorful pebbles or jewels. These are great gifts for teachers, Mother’s day and similar occasions.

Granted, a small dish does not hold much water but it is a nice addition to your bee garden décor. And, a great opportunity to discuss insect life with the young ones.

However, if you are a beekeeper with several beehives, you need a larger consistent water source. A thirsty hive with thousands of worker bees can consume a great deal of water on a hot day. 

Spend some time considering the best place create a larger water source for your hives. If a water garden is not something you want to do, consider using my DIY bucket feeders with water instead of sugar water.

Otherwise, you may find your neighbors complaining because they can’t keep your bees out of their swimming pool. That’s no fun.

Homemade bee watering station sitting on large rock in a garden image.

DIY Bee Watering Station Tutorial

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
Just a few simple steps to create a small honey bee watering station for your garden. All area pollinators will enjoy visiting too!
5 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Tools

  • heat gun (or hairdryer)

Supplies
 

  • 1 piece terra cotta clay pot 8″ with saucer
  • 1 can spray paint primer – Bullseye 1-2-3 (or similar )
  • 1 can Clear Coat Sealer
  • 2 pieces small craft paint brush
  • 1 pkg Small Rocks of Pebbles
  • 3 pieces Craft Paint Outdoors assorted
  • 1 piece Paint Pen Black

Instructions
 

  • Painting the Pot. (This is optional but highly recommended.) If you want to leave the natural clay surface – only paint the inside of the pot that will not be visible. This seals out moisture.
    Turn the pot upside down and spray paint the outside with primer/paint.  
    This will seal the pot and make the surface more suitable for decorating with colorful paint.  Use any color you want for your garden. Let dry completely.
    Clay pot and saucer painted in base color for bee water station image.
  • Draw Simple Designs on the Outside Surface.
    Use a pencil to lightly trace simple flowers or designs on your pot. Remember, it will be upside down (when finished) so draw your flowers in the correct orientation.
    Penciled flower design on painted clay pot image.
  • Add Color to Your Design: When you are pleased with your pencil sketches – use outdoor craft paint to add color. 
    black paint marker makes a nice bold outline around your colors. Then, fill in the flowers or other decorations with colorful paint.
    Optional: Use a heat gun or hair dryer to hasten paint drying.
    Painted clay pot for bee watering station with flowers image.
  • Seal Your Design. Once the paint is dry, you may wish to spray the pot and saucer with clear acrylic sealer and let dry again. 
    This is to keep your colors looking fresh for a longer time .With the pot upside down, set the saucer on top.  You could glue this in place if you wish or leave the bee watering station in two parts.
    Clay pot bee waterer in garden image.
  • Add water and rocks or pebbles. Let the bee watering station dry and cure for a couple of days. Then, choose a nice level place in your garden,.
    Place a few large rocks (or many small pebbles) in the saucer to give the bees safe drinking places.  Add water and enjoy.
    Finished bee watering station with rocks and water in flower garden image.
Learn more about bees and using products from the hive!Join me on Pinterest – @carolinahoneyb