What every bee needs is a good watering hole, and the bees at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture in Corvallis, Oregon have the fanciest one I’ve seen.
Water comes in through a drip irrigation-type system. The hose from the source runs up the side of the structure and through the middle of the piece of bamboo that stretches across the width. Holes are drilled through the top side of the bamboo pole and drip emitters are placed at regular intervals. I don’t remember how many there were, but it seems like it was about six.
The water seeps from the emitters and drips from the bamboo into a trough that is filled with mossy plants. You can see them looking rather yellow in the photo, but this was taken just coming out of winter when moss often looks like that.
Overflow from the moss drips down the sides of the rocks, which remain wet throughout the summer. A bed of rocks below the structure acts as a drain for the rest of the water.
Bees have many options. They can take water straight from the emitters, from the moss, from the rocks, or from the ground underneath. Honey bees, native bees, and a variety of other pollinators can meet here for refreshment and conversation.
If you already have a drip system in your garden or yard, it would be easy to add a water feature. It wouldn’t need to be nearly so big, of course. This one is huge, but I can imagine building something similar maybe two feet tall and three feet wide, depending on how many hives you have. If any of you try this, please let me know. I’d love to see what you build.