Hot weather can be tough on our local wildlife, including wild bees. Honeybees, for example, need a steady supply of water to make honey and feed members of their hive, and on hot days, water sources are especially critical. But where to go? Rivers, creeks, swimming pools, and even bird baths can be risky for bees trying to quench their thirst.
Here are a few simple ways to help our pollinators cope with the heat wave in store for the Bay Area this weekend:
Create a “bee watering station” out of wine corks
“For bees, a supply of water is as important as pollen and nectar forage in the summer,” says Treehugger gardening columnist Ramon Gonzalez. But bees don’t like to get their feet wet, so make sure there’s a safe, dry perch available. You don’t need to spend much money or any fancy equipment, says Gonzalez. “Simply take a bucket, pail or trough and fill it with water. Float an ample supply of wine corks in the water to give bees a landing pad so they can drink their fill.”
Use your marbles
On extremely dry, hot days, all bee foraging—except for water—will cease, according to Kathy Keatley Garvey of UC’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Experts estimate bees may bring back nearly a gallon of water a day to their hives to to keep eggs cool and to dilute the gelatinous food provided by the nurse bee so that queens, drones, and larvae can swallow it.
To learn more, read Kathy’s BugSquad blog.
And remember to keep cool and hydrated out there!
Related: How to help backyard birds beat the heat (National Wildlife Federation)
Want to attract native bees, butterflies, and other wildlife to your garden? Pick up Bay Nature’s Gardening for Wildlife with Native Plants.
Like this article?
Help Bay Nature tell more stories about nature in the Bay Area
Make a tax deductible donation to Bay Nature today!
A new iPad app, Wild Bee Gardening, draws on the knowledge of native bee experts to bring native bee conservation and gardening into the digital realm.
Stewardship | Urban Nature | Wildlife: Invertebrates, Reptiles, Amphibians
Not long ago, the Bay Area was home to wild creatures in numbers beyond reckoning. While we can't undo generations of intensive human settlement, there's a surprising amount of potential habitat for wildlife in the spaces in our own yards. By growing native plants, we can invite the wild back into our daily lives.
Facing a rodent problem? Before you head to the hardware store for rat poison, Alex Godby, founder of the nonprofit Hungry Owl Project (HOP), wants to persuade you that there are better ways to deal with rats and mice.
Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish
Most recent in Stewardship
Hot weather can be tough on our local wildlife, including wild bees. But you can help by making a safe "watering hole" for tiny pollinators.
The Mount Diablo Buckwheat disappeared in the 1930s. It was thought to be extinct. A single population was rediscovered in 2005. And then last year botanists found a new population numbering in the millions. How has this rarest of rare plants survived?
Plants and Fungi | Stewardship