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How do bees drink? I know that sounds like a stupid question, but I am building a very small pond near where our hives will go, and I need advice on what they need.

In my butterfly garden I keep plates of damp mud, because butterflies suck water out of the edges of ponds and out of muddy places, they don't drink directly out of open water. Do bees need damp earth around to drink from, or do they need open water, like in small ponds or bird baths?
 

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Bees gather water pretty much like they get nectar; with their proboscis. They seem to prefer the edges of the shallow puddles in muddy places, more so than butterflies. On vegetation or rocks/stones around the "shores" of a pond that's only 1/16 of an inch deep, or a gradually sloping bird bath is where I see them mostly. Some rocks on the edge of your small pond would work, rather than just mud. They might use that nearby source, or they may prefer to fly a farther distance for water.

There is a photo in a book of bees gathering around a slow dripping faucet with a board underneath; I don't remember which one. Some beekeepers use poultry waterers.
 

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Build your pond as you want, and don't worry about the bees...they'll get the water they want and need. You'll probably see them lining up on an edge of the pond for watering. They'll land on just about anything that facilitates watering.
 

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The bees seem to prefer flying right past a water source just 10' from their hives to one 100' or more away. Especially the neighbors chlorinated pool, or smelly stock tank.
Adding vinegar or clorox helps and seems to be good for them. Bees are naturally acidic and need to stay that way to be healthy.

Have fun experimenting.
 

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I've found those Peat Pot trays to work great, the bees love them. I had a few in my garden and there were hundreds of bees on them quite often. All that is in them is the peat pots from last year, but the bees can stand on the pots/dirt and drink. I just let them fill up with rainwater... seems like they love them.
 

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My wife has a pond, it's been in the yard a few years. I got the bees last fall the bees use the water feature for drinking. It's a big pot set on top of a large slab of slate strewn with small objects. The water flows over the top of the pot and across the slate, between these objects. The bees love it! And there is room for lots at a time
 

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In our back yard, we have a landscape pond with a small stream from a water fall pump. Both are lined around the perimeter with stones of various shapes and sizes. For some reason, they seem to prefer to land on stones at the edge of the moving water in our stream. Some bees do take water from the pond's edges. But if I did a population count on any given warm day, more bees will be found along the stream.
 

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