Pool party! Bees Need Water Too

Improve Your Bee Habitat with Water

While many folks worry about having too much moisture in the hive, the bees don’t really want the interior to be bone dry.  Bees need water, just like all living things.

The moisture levels inside the hive may go up and down depending on how much the bees are moving around and giving off heat, and what the outside temperature is.

Bees Need Water Year Round

Bees still need water in winter and unlike the warmer times of year when they can send a contingent outside to find some, during the cold of winter the bees prefer to get their moisture inside the hive.

If you’ve had a cold dry spell your bees may be thirsty.  In winter, it’s important that your bees have access to water somewhere near their hives.

Bees getting water on a sunflower

How to Give Your Bees a Convenient Water Source

I have some small bird baths about fifty feet from my hives.  I keep the bottom covered with moss, so that the bees can land easily without falling into the water.  And I check periodically to make sure the water isn’t frozen.

If the water in the bird bath is frozen, the bees probably aren’t coming outside anyway.  But if it’s been awhile since the last warm weather, and suddenly we get a little sunshine midday, some foragers will come out to look for water.

Make it easy on these foraging bees by providing a source of clean fresh water close by.

Read more: How to Rescue a Honeybee

Watch My Bees Using Their Water Source

This short video shows some honey bees making use of a small pool of water.  You can see several bees crawl down the rock wall to get access to the water.  As you can see, when you give your bees a good source of fresh water, they will have a little pool party!

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Jacqueline Freeman


Contributor

Jacqueline and her husband Joseph operate Friendly Haven Rise Farm, a biodynamic farm in southwest Washington. Jacqueline teaches and writes about natural beekeeping, biodynamics, and permaculture - and she is the training director for The Equine Natural Movement School. You can find more of her writing at spiritbee.com.


2 Comments
  • It looked like one bee was stuck in the water and others were trying to push and pull her out! I love bees. I hope some day to get a hive of my own.

  • Ramona

    Cool little article. But absolutely great photography! Thank you especially for that. Now for a funny question. What are you doing with the sunflower in the pic? I’m not sure that I understand. You mentioned moss, but I’m not sure I get that either. Thanks ahead of time for the follow up.

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