How to Make a Modern Bee Bath Watering Station

It’s (finally) warming up around here! That means fewer water sources for backyard pollinators, but it’s easy to help them out by making a simple bee bath.

This DIY will support your local bees and add a modern focal point to your yard.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. See my disclosures for details.


Why Make a Bee Bath?

Bees get a bad reputation as stingers, but the truth is that most bees are peaceful. They just want to build nests, gather pollen and enjoy some fresh water on a hot day.

Bumble bee enjoying blue lithodora flowers in the garden
Look at this little fluff!

Sadly, many bees are dwindling in population. But there’s a lot we can do to reverse this trend, like planting flowers they love, avoiding pesticides, and creating a bee watering station.

Read More: Beginner’s guide to pollinator gardening


Modern Bee Bath DIY

All you need to make a bee bath is a shallow dish, rocks for the bees to stand on, and water.

Choose Your Bee Bath Dish

Start by choosing a shallow dish that can hold water and handle the outdoors. Ceramic, terra cotta, glass and concrete are popular choices.

Bee baths are much smaller than bird baths, because our little pollinators can’t swim. They just need a shallow pool to get a drink.

For this reason, planter saucers often make good bee baths. I used three of these concrete saucers from IKEA to create a modern trio of bee baths.

Trio of modern bee baths in backyard near sedum and blueberry plants

With a 10.75-inch diameter and 0.75-inch height, they are the perfect size. IKEA also sells them in a 7.25-inch diameter if you want a variety of sizes.

These saucers have pads underneath to protect floors and decks. IKEA says they are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, but I was worried the pads could get moldy if kept on the ground, so I removed them.

I used a heat gun to warm up the glue, and then I scraped under the pads and pulled them up. Watch how in the video.

Removing pad underneath outdoor saucer

You could also pick up a simple dish at your dollar store to make this an even more affordable DIY.

Select Your Rocks

Next you want to pick a filler like small rocks. This gives the bees easy access to the water and a safe way to climb out.

You can choose different colors of rocks or decorative marbles. Seashells are a fun choice for a beachy yard.

Dollar Tree is a great spot to find small bags of rocks or filler. That’s where I got these little gray river rocks.

Easy DIY bee bath made with planter saucer and rocks

Make sure that most of the rocks will stick up over the height of the bee bath. That way, if the rain fills up the dish, the rocks will still be high enough above the water.

I also prefer to avoid very tiny pebbles, like pea gravel, since they make it harder to empty and clean out the bee bath.

Place the Bee Bath Dish in the Garden

Now pick a location for your bee watering station that will be easy for you to access and refill. Look for a spot where you’ve seen bees visiting your yard, near flowers and far from anywhere that might be exposed to pesticides.

Modern garden with three gray bee baths made with IKEA planter saucers
My bees love these blueberry plants!

Set the bee bath in your garden, and make sure it’s fairly level. Since the dish is so shallow, if it’s too uneven it won’t be able to hold much water.

Bee Baths in Hot Climates: If you live in an extremely dry, hot climate, the bees will be extra grateful for a watering station. It’s a good idea to place your bee bath in a shady area. You might want to use a lighter colored dish and lighter rocks, to avoid absorbing extra heat with dark colors.

Put It All Together and Add Water

Once your bee bath dish is in place, add the rocks and water.

Simple gray bee baths in garden

Replace the water every other day to keep it clean and prevent mosquitoes. Your local bees will thank you!


More Ways to Help Bees

Bees and other important pollinators desperately need more habitat, and your yard is a great place to provide it. Check out these books for more ideas.


How to make a modern bee bath
How to make a bee watering station
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2 thoughts on “How to Make a Modern Bee Bath Watering Station”

  1. These are very clever and I’m sure the bees will appreciate them! It was a great video/tutorial on how to make them. We watched a very interesting documentary on a man in a big city that he made all these different things for the bees in his little backyard. I think it was on PBS. You would enjoy seeing it. We get quite a few bees in our backyard with our different variety of plants. Another great H & H Tara! 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks, Judy! With the hotter summers we’ve been getting here, I hope this will help the bees. That documentary sounds interesting, I will have to look for that.

      Your neighborhood bees are lucky to have the abundant flowers in your yard! 🙂

      Reply

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