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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive
- National Wildlife Federation®: Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife
- Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard