Build decorative bee troughs with these instructions and bees do something good
Not only we humans and the “big” animals suffer from the summer heat. Insects, including of course the bees, get thirsty and are desperately looking for a little water. And with all the hard work you really deserve it, don’t you think so? If you are still looking for a new, original decoration for your garden, a bee trough might be just the thing. Because with it you not only get a pretty eye-catcher, but also do something good for the insects. And who knows, maybe a little bird might even get lost in the garden and there to take a nice dip. If you read about a bee watering for the first time today, you are probably curious. Today we would like to show you, using various examples, how you can easily build a bee trough. In addition to the instructions, you will also receive some important tips.
Advantages of the bee watering system
The bee watering is not only beneficial for the bees. You too can find some rest with their help. Because as soon as it is dry for several days, the bees no longer have enough nectar and they try to find liquids elsewhere. This means that the bees make themselves comfortable at the pet’s drinking bowl or at the water tap in the garden, at the children’s pool or the rain barrel. Of course, this increases the risk of being stung, especially for children. However, if you build and set up a bee trough, you can lure the bees away from these water sources in a targeted manner. Especially if you breed bees yourself in the garden, you can avoid trouble with the neighbors with sufficient water troughs. Bees use the water not only for drinking, but also to keep their beehive cool.
What is needed?
Fortunately, building a drinking trough for bees and providing them with water that way is an extremely simple task. Basically, all you need is a container and some decorative stones. A bowl or a slightly deeper plate are best used as a container. The material doesn’t matter. Porcelain, clay, and metal are all suitable. However, metal that rusts should not be used. Plastic should also be avoided if you are building a bee trough, as it has been proven that microparticles are released into the water.
You can use gravel as stones or smaller river stones when building the bee trough. Glass stones, which are used, among other things, to set up aquariums, are also suitable and even look very elegant, as they sparkle and glitter nicely in the sun. You can also combine the stones with other things such as bark, sticks or shells, with wood floating wonderfully on the water. The same goes for corks. Moss, in turn, ideally soaks up the moisture and then releases it again, from which the bees benefit. All of these things serve to protect the bees from drowning. The water shouldn’t be too deep, because the bees could slide off quickly and then drown. By and large, natural materials are preferable to man-made materials such as plastic. To summarize, here is a list of suitable things:
- Stones (gravel, crushed stone, river stones)
- Snail shells
- Sticks and bark
- Glass stones
- Corks (whole corks or sliced)
Build hanging bee troughs
For this effective bee trough you need thread, a glass bowl or a round casserole dish, small pebbles and a wreath made of branches (e.g. a grapevine). You are also welcome to make a wreath yourself. But if you are in a hurry, just get a ready-made one. The inner diameter of the wreath should be a little smaller than that of the baking dish so that the form cannot slip through the wreath. You build the bee trough in the following way:
First cut four pieces of the same length from the yarn. You choose the length yourself, depending on where you want to hang the trough and how deep you want it to hang. Then you can also build the bee trough right away. To do this, tie the yarn around the wreath. Keep about the same distance between the four points. You can tie the other ends together at the top. You can now hang up the wreath. Then put the baking dish in it and distribute the stones in it. Now you can add water. Because the shape is not fixed in the wreath, it can be easily removed and cleaned every day.
Idea with vintage plate on a stand
You can use any vintage plate for this idea. This can be a unique item from the flea market or a plate that you still have in the attic or you buy a specially designed plate. New plates with an interesting design are also offered. This should neither be too shallow nor too deep. If you want to build this bee trough, you also need:
- Cable pipe or conduit made of metal or PVC (approx. 2.5 cm in diameter, desired height plus 30 to 75 cm, which are inserted into the ground)
- a wooden stick / dowel (30 cm long) – it should fit easily into the pipe, but not sit loosely
- Glass stones in any color
If you want to build this bee trough, first take the pipe and first stick it as deeply into the earth as you can with your own strength. Then take a small piece of pipe (alternatively a piece of wood or something similar), hold it on the large pipe and use a hammer to hammer it into the earth as deep as you want. The smaller piece serves to protect the large pipe from the hammer blows. That way it won’t be damaged. Then put some glue in the middle of the underside of the plate and place the wooden stick on it. Now let the glue dry in peace, as recommended by the manufacturer. Then you can put the plate with the stick in the tube, distribute the glass stones in the plate and fill up with water. You’re done!
Build your own bee drinking trough with a lantern
A bee trough is great as a project if you still have some old decorations and would like to reuse them. For example, a lantern that has been in a box for a long time is suitable. You can combine this lantern with a fruit bowl, which has also not been used for some time, but does not want to be thrown away either. In addition to this, if you plan to build this bee drinker, get some strong glue and spread it on the underside of the lantern. Then attach the fruit bowl to it. Once the glue has dried, you can fill the bowl with mussels (or any other thing like corks, stones, or marbles) and add water.
Idea for a self-made container made of terracotta
If you also want to make a container yourself, you can do this with a terracotta or clay pot for flowers and a large saucer. For this purpose, the plate is simply glued to the small pot. The frame can then be sprayed with any color. It is best to inquire about suitable glue and spray paint at the hardware store. Let the paint dry well for at least 24 hours. Then you can go ahead and build the bee trough as we explained earlier.
Build bee troughs – the ideal location
After you build a bee trough, you should of course also find the perfect location. This is ideally located in a sunny place and is already illuminated by the sun in the morning. This is important because the bees prefer warm water to avoid cooling off. The location should therefore be as warm as possible and, above all, calm. The earlier you set up the water point, the better. Because then the bees have the opportunity to get used to the location and always know exactly where to find it. So it is best if you put a waterer in the garden in spring, as soon as the bees make their first flights. But then you always have to make sure that the bowl is filled. Otherwise, the bees will find another source of water and may not come back to yours as quickly.
Which water is best suited?
In principle, tap water is suitable. And while bees don’t like tap water that much, they’ll be grateful for it on hot days too. However, if the tap water contains a lot of chlorine, it will attract the bees. That’s why they like to drink from the pool so much. But that doesn’t mean that you should add chlorine to the water. Better to leave it with the composition, which comes straight from the pipe. Bees like to drink rainwater. So if you have a rain barrel, you can also take the water out of it and fill the container after you have built the bee trough.
Although sugar (not brown sugar!) And honey in the water will attract the bees, you shouldn’t add any of them to the drinking trough. On the one hand, there is a risk with honey that diseases that are typical of bees are spread. The sweet water can also lead to quarrels between the bees. If you still want to do more than just fill the trough with water, you can also enrich the water with salt after you have built the bee trough. An amount of 1 teaspoon salt per 10 liters of water applies. Other minerals can also be added. For example, healing earth is very popular. If you are not sure about fortification, you can simply ask a beekeeper for advice.
Build and maintain bee drinking troughs
Like the bird bath, which is used for bathing and drinking, a bee trough should be well cared for and cleaned regularly. After all, what good is there to supply the bees with water if, instead of doing them good, it spreads germs? If the drinking trough is not kept clean, that is exactly what happens: Diseases can be spread and stagnant water is also the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, so that the mosquitoes can multiply in this way in your garden. However, by changing the water and cleaning the container and stones, you prevent all of this. So there is no point if you build a bee trough but don’t take good care of it afterwards.
Buy bee waterers
If you find the idea of setting up a bee trough in the garden great, but don’t really feel like building one yourself, you can simply buy a ready-made model. There are all sorts of models on the Internet that you can order and then display in your garden bed, on the terrace or on the balcony. There are both standing and hanging versions, so you are guaranteed to find a suitable model quickly. The drinker is the ideal addition to the insect hotel, which you can also build yourself.