Everyone enjoys helping bees and other pollinators. This is especially true of those of us who enjoy gardening. Practicing bee friendly gardening techniques can make a big difference for our bees, wasps and other beneficial insects. There are many ways you can help – even if you only have a small space. Once cute idea is a homemade bee watering station made with a clay pot and saucer.
Homemade Bee Watering Station from a Clay Pot
The garden is a a place of beauty. This is true whether you have a formal garden with hedges and roses or a backyard vegetable garden.
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Or maybe you are lucky enough to have a large space that you can fill with a meadow of flowering plants. Flowers that attract bees will also bring many other pollinators to the garden.
A variety of blooming plants will provide different kinds of nectar and pollen for the insect visitors. A diverse diet helps keep bees healthy. And a bee garden can be a beautiful and relaxing place for you too.
Bees Gather Nectar, Pollen and Water too!
We have all read about the different things bees collect and you have undoubtedly seen this work in progress. Buzzy bees gathering pollen 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.
How Honey Bees Use Water
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 with their honey stomach full of water. House bees use this 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.
Bees place drops of water along the surface of the honeycomb and cool the hive by fanning their wings.
Water Sources for Your Bee Garden
There are many different ways to provide a water source in the garden. From water gardens to simple water fountains, a pollinator watering station can be useful and beautiful.
A popular craft for kids of all ages is creating a simple DIY water source using a wide saucer and colorful pebbles. This is something even young children can help create.
It does not hold much water but it is a nice addition to your bee garden decor. And a great opportunity to discuss insect life with the young ones.
Clay Pot Pollinator Watering Station
Clay pots are a traditional favorite for many gardeners. You can use a clay pot and saucer to create a colorful bee water station that will look nice for years.
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 are a beekeeper with several colonies, you need a larger water source-or plan to fill the small waterer daily.
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 water source for your hives.
Otherwise, a small water source like this is beneficial for area bees, wasps, butterflies, etc. And, it makes a cute addition to your garden.
Materials Needed for Bee Water Station:
- terra cotta clay pot 8″ with matching saucer
- craft paint for outdoors (optional)
- clear coat acrylic spray paint
- brushes – paint marker – pencil
- small rocks
You can use any size clay pot but 8″ in the smallest size desirable. Smaller saucers contain less water so think big.
Steps to Make a Bee Water Station
Time needed: 3 hours.
Step by steps instructions to make a bee watering station using a large clay flower pot and saucer.
- Paint the Clay Pot and Saucer
Turn the pot upside down and spray paint the outside with primer/paint. Rustoleum 2X is a good paint for this project.
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.
- Draw Flower Designs in Pencil
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.
- Add Color to Your Design
When you are pleased with your design – use outdoor craft paint to add color.
A black paint marker makes a nice bold outline around your colors. Then, fill in the flowers or other decorations with paint.
- Spray Finished Watering Station with Sealer
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.
- Add Water and Rocks for Safe Drinking
Let the bee watering station dry and cure for a couple of days.
Then, choose a nice place in your garden, place a few large rocks in the saucer to give the bees safe drinking places. Add water and enjoy.
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.
A Final Word on Creating a Bee Watering Station
Bees and other pollinators need water and they will seek it out. If you area is lacking in natural water sources or they are polluted, providing a pollinator water source is a great thing to do.
Using a traditional clay pot and saucer to make a bee watering station is one way to provide clean water. This bee garden craft is as fun as it is practical.
Even small efforts matter. For a thirsty bee or butterfly – every drop counts. It also makes a sweet gift for any bee lover.
If you are really enjoying creating with terra cotta…. consider this easy diy bee themed terra cotta candy dish.