A big hive can use over a quart of water on a hot day, which would require 800 worker bees to each make 50 trips to the water source. That is a lot of work and a lot of water.
We are fortunate to have a lot of bees (some native!) in our garden. I am not sure where their hives are located, but recently the larger bees have found a new water source in my yard.
Starting about a month ago the bees discovered that there is a slow trickle of moisture at the corner of one our raised beds in the backyard. The raised beds sit on a concrete slap that is slopped a little bit so more water from the drip irrigation migrates down to one corner of the beds. The beds are made of recycled felt so they wick extra water through to the surface. All the bees need to do is land on the felt and collect moisture. It is ideal for them, because it is cool and they don’t have to worry about drowning in a pool or puddle.
To be honest I hadn’t really thought about creating a honey bee water garden, but now that I see that they need access to water I am starting to think about design ideas. I am not really happy about where they are landing, since it is right by my backdoor. But I think a big container with water plants might work well in that part of the garden. Maybe I can even make some “fake” water lilies with recycled felt so they can drink while they lounge. Stay tuned…