A single bee tends to at least 2,000 flowers daily, with their tiny wings beating 10,000 times per minute, carrying pollen, and dramatically assisting our food supply. All that work makes the bees thirsty, especially on a hot day.
Bees need access to safe water sources, they often risk drowning in birdbaths or being eaten at rivers and lakes among birds, fish, frogs and other wildlife. This is why they often fly around our clothes lines and may even land on us if we are in an outdoor pool on a hot day.
Kim Flottum, editor of the Bee Culture magazine, writes in her book The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden: “Water is used to dissolve crystallized honey, to dilute honey when producing larval food, for evaporation cooling during warm weather, and for a cool drink on a hot day.”
“Bees know exactly where to return for the same water source. Foragers seem to seek water sources that are scented,” Flottum says.
One solution to this problem is to add marbles or pebbles to a bowl or pan and then add water. The marbles give the bees a spot to land so they don’t drown when they come to drink.
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