Help the Bees With This DIY Bee Water Garden!
Did you know that the bee populations are dwindling? Help save our bee population with this easy DIY project!
Last year, massive bee deaths were reported widely even in the mainstream news. While there are many causes of the deaths, we need to do all we can to help our bee population bounce back and grow. One of the ways we can help the bees is provide them with clean water.
This simple project you can do with your kids (or a class) will help provide bees with an easily accessible water source.
• Rocks (large and small)
• A large shallow bowl
• Clean water
Have your kids collect rocks from the yard or other areas. Make sure they get rocks of different sizes. If you collect them from areas that you’re not sure are pesticide free, soak them in a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water overnight and rinse thoroughly.
Arrange the rocks in a shallow but wide bowl (like a pasta bowl). Make sure that there are big rocks and small rocks mixed in with one another—the bees need rocks to stand on to access the water.
Fill the bowl with fresh water so the rocks are half covered. Place the bowl outside in your yard. If you have a flower garden I recommend you place the bowl in the garden or close to it. Bees have a hard time finding fresh water so if you place it near an area where they normally travel to you make it easier for them to find. There’s no need to replace the water or rinse off the green scum that may develop — this helps make it easier for the bees to find.
Why do bees need water?
• Bees use water for various purposes in the hive—in the summer they use the water to cool the temperature down, and in the winter they use it to help decrystalize the honey.
• Bees do not store water. They retrieve it when they need it.
• A single hive can use up to one liter of water a day on hot days.
• Baby bees (larvae) need water in the hive to survive so the nurse bees can produce the proper food for the larvae.
• The water cools the hive by using evaporative cooling. The water comes into the hive and is placed in specific locations and the worker bees in the hive fan their wings basically creating air conditioning.
Other Fun Facts About Bees
• Bees are the only insects in the world that make food that humans can eat.
• Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it.
• Honey was found in the tombs in Egypt and it was still edible!
• Bees are believed to have been here around 30 million years.
• A honeybee can fly 24 km in an hour at a speed of 15 mph. Its wings beat 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute.
• Bees have straw-like tongues called a proboscis so they can suck up liquids. They also have mandibles so they can chew.
• Bees carry pollen on their hind legs called a pollen basket. Pollen is a source of protein for the hive and is needed to feed the baby bees to help them grow.
• In the summer a beehive can have as many as 50,000 to 80,000 bees. A bee must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey. It requires 556 worker bees to gather a pound of honey. Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.
• The average worker bee makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
• A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds of extra honey, which is the only thing a beekeeper harvests.
• The only continent that does not have bees is Antarctica.