Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Water for Bees

 A couple years ago I started putting out containers of water close to the bee yard for the bees.
 
At flee markets or garage sales if I see the large dark blue enamel roasting pans with the white spots--the kind that are large enough to roast a big turkey--I always buy them.
 
I started using them years ago when I wanted to put a container on the ground for water for the wildlife.  I found that plastic dishes would crack with our cold Canadian weather.  But the enamel pans are crack proof and rust proof too.
 
I have about 4 of them set up on an old large wooden box.  They're high enough to stop the raccoons playing in the water... but maybe not to keep birds from having a bath or a drink, but I don't mind them.
 
To stop the bees from drowning I grab handfuls of long grass and lay them on top of the water.  The bees use these as floating logs to land on.  In commercial beekeeping they put their syrup in barrels and put straw on top as a floating platform.
 
Sometimes the grass has roots and it will grow.  Maybe it adds a special flavour to the water. 
 
There's one plant with a small ruffled edge and a purple flower that loves sitting in the water and it grows there.  Either way, the bees use this watering hole consistently.
 
I bring jugs of water from home and top the pans up every couple weeks and more often if it's been hot with no rain.
 
The most satisfying thing for me is that they have water close at hand.  After all they work hard enough so why not make something easy for them.
 
Best of all though is that the bees do not drown in the water.  The grass is very effective at giving them something to cling to.
 
So when you see that garage sale sign or flea market ad, you may want to drop by and check out the roasting pans.
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