The Weather Network – Create A Water Haven For Insects With These Easy-To-Prepare Dishes



Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 9:06 a.m. – These simple insect dishes can bring many benefits to Mother Nature’s little creatures and can boost our biodiversity, says an education specialist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF).

Insects need a sip of water to hydrate, just like humans and other living things, but sometimes they need a helping hand to replenish themselves.

This is where we come in. There are easy and fun projects you can tackle at home to help them, from making bee dishes to mud puddles for butterflies, among others. They can be practiced at any time of the year, outside of winter, when they have migrated or are in hibernation.

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For example, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) Gardening for wildlife The program encourages Canadians to get outside and transform home, school and community gardens into wildlife-friendly habitat. As part of this initiative, the organization has DIY projects that support insects in their quest to stay hydrated.

Sarah Coulber, education specialist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF), recently spoke to The Weather Network about installing garden dishes for insects and the benefits they provide.

Insect water dish / Sarah Coulber
(Sarah Coulber)

“The benefits for wildlife are definitely there because our wildlife needs food, water and shelter like us. They get it from different sources and it’s important that we include as much as possible in our garden,” Coulber said.


The CWF has step-by-step advice on building nourishing aquatic sanctuaries for nature’s little creatures. What you will need to prepare them are two shallow dishes or bowls, larger pebbles or boulders, sandy soil and, of course, water.

“In fact, they don’t take a lot of time or money. I made, even with my daughter when she was younger, a dish of insects. It was a saucer from a plant pot,” Coulber said. “We cleaned it up, we put rocks and sticks in it, added a little water to it and presto. It was there. We saw bugs over time drinking from it.”

Bee and dragonfly dish

It will only take up a small space in your garden. Bees even use water in their hives to cool their homes.

  • Take one of the shallow dishes or bowls and place it in a shady spot in your garden.
  • Add stones or pebbles of different sizes to the dish.
  • Add a little water but make sure you don’t overfill it. You want pebbles or boulders to protrude from the water. The idea is that bees and dragonflies will be able to perch on the rocks and take a sip of water when they need it.

Insect bath / Sarah Coulber
(Sarah Coulber)

The good thing about projects is their low cost and frequency of maintenance. As for the latter, Coulber says it just depends on the weather, but you need to check the dishes every now and then to prevent bacteria from growing or mosquitoes breeding in the water.

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“If it has just been extremely hot and dry, the hotter it is, the more often you will want to change the water. If it hasn’t been too hot, that’s not much of a problem. Much like changing hummingbird feeders. It depends on how much precipitation you have and the temperatures, ”Coulber said.

“As long as it looks clean to you, then you’re fine.” But if after a few days you want to tip it over and give it cool water, that’s probably a good idea. So it could be once a week, it could be longer than that, it could be shorter than that.

Butterfly mud puddles

Butterflies acquire the nutrients from the mud to keep them strong and healthy, so they will always enjoy a quality mud puddle.

It’s also a simple matter of using a shallow dish and filling it with sand or compost, Coulber said.

Mud Puddle / Sarah Coulber
(Sarah Coulber)

  • Take the other shallow dish or bowl and add some sandy soil to it.
  • Add just enough water to keep the soil moist.
  • Check the mud puddle to make sure it is wet enough.
  • If you have rain, be sure to check the mud puddle and pour out any excess water. Too much water is not good for a mud puddle.

“Make sure it’s not sterilized sand, because the goal is for these creatures to get their minerals from this source.” You’re going to put sand in the dish, you can wet it with water, and then wet it again as needed, ”Coulber said.

“If you have heavy precipitation or if it gets wet, you may need to pour some of that excess water. ”

You can also make a combination of sand on one side and stones on the other, she added. In addition, some butterfly species will also be attracted to exposed soil or compost that has become damp, using it to find food and water.


CWF offers a number of resources on how people can support their local migratory wildlife with food, water and shelter, as well as the safe management of your space.

The organization also has information on how to certify your garden. Its Garden Habitat certification recognizes Canadians who make their home, school, business or community land suitable for wildlife by certifying their outdoor space as a wildlife-friendly habitat.

Insect bath dishes / Sarah Coulber
(Sarah Coulber)

“By supporting a diversity of species … the more biodiversity we have in our garden, in our community, the more it helps nature in general, and that in turn helps us,” Coulber said. “We need beneficial insects to help pollinate our plants. Beneficial insects also help control potential pest species.”

Thumbnail courtesy of Sarah Coulber.

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