Tim Gabbert, a second year beekeeper from Williamsburg, Virginia, noticed honey bees congregating at one of his birdbaths and wondered how to keep the bees from drowning. His solution? Ancient seashells perforated with worm holes. He writes:
I live in area rich with ancient ocean sea shells that are constantly being pulled from the cliffs of the rivers by frequent storms. These shells, being riddled with marine worm holes, looked to be the perfect bee watering device. So I placed a few large scallop shells in the bird baths. The bees adapted quickly to them. Sometimes as many as 50 bees will be sitting on these shells casually sipping water that is drawn up and available in the tiny marine worm cavities.
Tim explains that both the James River and the York River are nearby. He says they are constantly fossil hunting on the cliff banks of these rivers because the banks were once the ocean floor, only 10,000 years ago. Shells, he says, are everywhere.
To me, this is a perfect solution. I love the juxtaposition of the old with the new, and of the sea and the land. Nature, in its various forms, serving nature is a beautiful sight. Plus there are added benefits. Tim says, “The bees are extremely happy with this set up. I sit by them, enjoy a glass of wine, and listen to their sounds as they come and go!”
Thanks, Tim, for sharing a clever idea.
Honey Bee Suite