We love gardening with our two kids and one of the things we have been doing this past year is to encourage as much wildlife as possible to our garden. We are currently working towards making our garden more bee friendly and whilst we wait for our delivery of plants that are loved by bees we decided to look at other ways we could encourage bees to our garden and so this week we made a bee bath.
Why do bees need water?
Like all living creatures bees need water to survive. Water aids the bees digestion, helps with the production of jelly and royal jelly for feeding the larvae and can provide solutions to problems that arise in the different seasons. During Winter stored honey has a tendency to dry out and crystallise but the bees “spit” water onto the crystals which dilutes it back into liquid. In Summer water is useful to the bees as a means of cooling down the hive when it becomes to hot. Worker bees will spread a thin layer of water on top and around the rims of each cell and then they create a fan by flapping their wings vigorously. This action creates an airflow which evaporates the water and cools the hive down.
How do bees collect water
Bees collect water as and when it is needed, they do not store it. Bees will forage water from damp rocks, branches, puddles, ponds and vegetation. When a source of water is found the bee will mark it with pheromones so that it can be found by others. Making a Bee bath is a fantastic way of providing the bees with a safe and reliable source of fresh water and will hopefully attract more bees to the garden.
Making a bee bath activity
Making a bee bath is a simple and fun activity for the kids to do and it is a great way of encouraging children at a young age to be friendly and considerate towards wildlife. If you want to make your garden more bee friendly then providing a reliable and safe source of clean water is an easy step to take.
What you need:
- Shallow dish,saucer,tray
- Plenty of stones,pebbles,sticks
- Fresh water
When making a bee bath there are a few things to consider. Shallow dishes are much safer than deep buckets and it is important that your dish is filled with plenty of stones or sticks for the bee to stand on as this will reduce the risk of drowning. Bees need clean water so it is advisable to change the water every other day. The bee bath needs to be filled up so that the stones are only slightly submerged.
We are really enjoying seeing all the wildlife that visit our garden and we hope that as the days start warming up we will see may more visitors. If you would like to share with us any pictures/ideas/news from your own garden then please join us on social media.