You Can Make a Bee Watering Station with a Bowl of Marbles

This bee waterer will make your backyard an oasis for hardworking pollinators. It's easy to DIY, too.

“Busy bee” is a term often used to describe our friends and family who have a packed schedule. You probably could have guessed that the phrase comes from the active lifestyle of the bee, but you may not know that the yellow-and-black pollinators tend to about 2,000 flowers daily. That’s hard work!

Even if your yard lacks a pretty pollinator garden, you can still make it a friendly and accessible pit stop for the bees hard at work.

How to Make a Bee Waterer with Marbles

Like humans, bees need water on hot summer days to drink and cool off. Unfortunately, when they make a stop at birdbaths or forest streams, they risk drowning or encountering larger animals looking for a snack.

The solution is simple, though! All you need to do is grab a pan or shallow bowl, and add a good amount of stones, pebbles or marbles before filling with water. The rocks and knick-knacks will give bees a nice landing spot and help avoid drowning. It’s best to change the water every week or so to make sure other insects don’t lay eggs.

Should I Add Sugar to the Water?

It may sound like a good idea, but don’t add anything to the water—sugar and honey are the main culprits. Bees are very good with directions, so if they make one stop at the bee watering station in your yard and taste sugar, they might keep returning with their friends to collect the sugar instead of picking it up from flowers.

Honey sounds like the next best option, but unfortunately adding it to your bee waterer has similar consequences. Honey can also contain a fatal bacterium, and if a bee brings it back home, it could infect the whole hive. It’s best to stick with clean, fresh water and marbles.

Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.