Bees are one of the most useful insects in the world as the help with pollination, without which some plants cannot reproduce and create seeds. Besides being so useful, I personally find them to be really cute! Their big black eyes and fuzzy little bodies…and if you have ever seen a bee drink water you will also think they are adorable, they seem to gulp down the water – the bee’s whole body bobs up and down. Too cute!
I have a tiny little garden in front of my flat near Johannesburg, and although the space is tiny, there is SO much life brimming in this little space. I have herbs, flowers, shrubs and vegetables, since I cannot exist without things growing and thriving near me. Recently I added a little glass bowl so that the birds could have something to drink, and I was blown away by the result! The bees love this hydrating mini pond! At any given time there are at least 6 bees drinking water. Less now with the spring rains and increased nectar available.
The reason my bee hydrator works so well is because there are no fish that might eat the bees or running water that will drown them. The pebbles ensure that the bees always have somewhere to “perch” and drink water, not like a swimming pool that is too large. What happens is that bees tend to flip over onto their backs in the water and then they can’t fly out or grab onto something nearby to lift them off their backs and they eventually drown. Swimming pool water is also chlorinated so it is probably toxic to the bees too.
Most people shudder at the thought of bees flying everywhere but there is no reason to be. All creatures and even plants sense dangerous intent and neither myself nor my daughter have ever been stung. I use the opportunity to teach her valuable lessons about life and how to respect Nature. I would rather that she learn to stay away from the bees and respect them, rather than keep her away and let her become scared of everything. I often have to work right next to the bees, planting seeds or doing some weeding, and they are completely at ease at the “bar”.
What is the benefit of this? Well, nearby plants that need bees for reproduction will produce more flowers and thus higher yields. Looking after bees literally increases abundance in the plant kingdom. It is an honor to assist Nature in this way.
And do you want to know something else? That little section of my garden now smells like honey 🙂