Water for bees

There is a world-wide decline in bee populations. To encourage these helpful insects to become regular visitors to our gardens we need to provide them with a permanent safe water source.
Bees need water, too. As Rusty Burlew explains in ‘Backyard Beekeeping‘,
Honey bees drink water like other animals, but they also use it for other purposes. In winter especially, honey bees use water to dissolve crystallized honey and thin honey that has become too thick and viscous. In summer, they spread droplets of water along the edges of brood comb, and then fan the comb with their wings. The rapid fanning sets up air currents that evaporate the water and cools the nest to the right temperature for raising baby bees.
If you have a bird bath, all you need to do is add a stone that protrudes out of the water to provide a safe landing platform. Bees can drown in deeper water.
Otherwise, any shallow, wide container can serve the purpose. Plant saucers, old ceramic pie or quiche dishes, etc. Avoid metal containers that may heat the shallow water on hot days. Place enough stones, coarse gravel, or marbles in the bottom of the container to provide landing places for thirsty bees, and place the container out of the reach of pets where you won’t forget to top up the water, regularly.
If you don’t have any shallow containers, you can use deeper containers if you float some pieces of light wood, or cork on the water surface as landing rafts. Or place a stick across the water surface. The DIY Enthusiasts website provides a great range of ideas for bee watering stations.
We must look after our bees. They pollinate a good percentage of our vegetables, fruits and flowers, and bees are essential for honey production.