Photo: How to make a bee bath

A shallow plate, rocks and water is all you need. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

We all know that bees are busy. So it makes sense that they get thirsty!

But have you ever witnessed a bee watering hole? Now you can make one.

Fact is, bees are crash landers (like those other beneficial insects, ladybugs). Open water, like a creek or pond (even a bird bath) means bees risk drowning or being caught by predators — you've seen fish jumping out of water to catch yummy insects, right?

Prevent bee drowningsmake a bee bath! These three simple steps use ingredients already in your home. Your creation will also combat pests like aphids, because ladybugs that stop by for a sip will eat 'em!

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Step 1: Place a shallow plate in your yard or garden at ground level where you've noticed bee activity. Better still, place the bee bath near sick plants to attract aphid eaters like ladybugs!

Note: Reuse a plate (maybe one that's chipped), source one from a thrift store or use a plant pot tray.

Step 2: Add a few rocks to the plate to create landing pads or islands.

Step 3: Add fresh water but don't submerge the stones. You won't encourage mosquito larvae if you keep the water level low.

It's okay if the water evaporates, refill your bee bath as needed. And don't be afraid to move it around your garden/yard.

How did you make the most effective bee bath?

Sincerely, Lindsay Coulter

A fellow Queen of Green

June 25, 2015

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Apr 06, 2017
9:34 AM

Small garden, not enough plants, but the bees do visit my raspberry bushes which are being moved to a smaller area this spring. I will definitely provide a shallow dish for them this year, thank you for the info. Since our tap water contains chlorine and fluoride but we have a pH (7-10) water filter is it better to use the filtered water?

Jul 15, 2015
7:26 PM

The bee bath sounds great but aren’t we asking for a mosquito breeding ground?

Mar 17, 2016
10:51 AM

As stated in the blog, you want to keep the water level low. You can also keep it fresh. It’s so shallow that you’d notice if there were mosquito larvae (black things) in the plate. Lindsay, Queen of Green

Jul 08, 2015
6:37 AM

Beekeeper from San Francisco here! Please be careful with gravel, pebbles and stones from Big Box stores. They sell bags of these stones and it’s attractively cheap. The problem is they coat the gravel and stones with herbicide and pesticide! So a little bee or bird comes to drink from a little pool of water in the gravel path, or from the bowl of stones you’ve set out from them, and it’s poisonous! If a bag of stones says “Resistant to weeds”, or “Repels Aphids”, know its a bag of bee and butterfly killer. The pesticide industry has tons of people just sitting around thinking of things to coat in this stuff…

Mar 17, 2016
10:53 AM

Great point! No fancy rocks, just those from the garden or beach. Lindsay, Queen of Green

Jul 06, 2015
2:52 PM

Seen fish jumping? I’ve tied artificial flies and caught a few fish. Great article!

Jul 06, 2015
8:03 AM

Should the bee bath be in a shady spot?

Mar 17, 2016
10:55 AM

Not necessarily. It’s okay if it runs out of water as long as you refresh it. Quite simply you want to place it near bee activity and the area of the garden that they’re using. You’ll save them fewer trips which takes a lot of bee energy! Lindsay, Queen of Green

Jul 03, 2015
6:02 AM

Great Idea! will try it today, I have deeper ones for the birds here but love my little bees.

Jul 02, 2015
5:25 PM

This is awesome. I’ve been watering my big leafed calif. and broc where the bees can get some water from the leaves.

Thank you,


Jul 02, 2015
7:03 AM

Will they use a bird bath as well? I’ve got that on order and can add some stones to it

Mar 17, 2016
10:57 AM

They might but bird baths are too deep which means they risk drowning. I’d suggest a plate from a thrift store with pebbles/rocks. But only you’ll know by observing what they use! Lindsay, Queen of Green

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