DIY Bee Hotel: All You Need to Know
Solitary bees are always looking for the perfect place to settle in. But good accommodation is sometimes hard to come by. The good news is that we can help them by building their very own bee hotel.
Solitary female bees spend most of their days looking for a comfy nest they can call home. And for good reason: they need a warm and safe spot for their baby bees, one that’s not too far away from bee-friendly flowers and their pollen.
But just like us humans, finding that perfect place to settle in can be difficult for bees. Most of them end up laying their eggs in holes in the ground or in the hollow stems of plants. But if you know how important bees are for our planet and for keeping our favourite fruits and vegetables in existence, you’ll agree that they deserve better accommodation.
So, if you want to give bees a comfy home and kids a nice project to be a part of, there is something you can do together to help these little insects and treat them like the royalty they truly are. Keep reading to find out more about DIY bee hotels, what they are and how to build one yourself.
What is a bee hotel?
A bee hotel is a great way to support solitary bees by offering them a place to nest. Unlike honeybees, these little guys don’t live in hives, so they’ll be trying to build their own home by themselves. That’s where DIY bee hotels come in handy. And you can easily build one for them in your garden. Don’t worry, solitary bees are not aggressive and are unlikely to sting. Plus, you will be enjoying the gentle hum of bees buzzing the day away in the garden all summer long.
Things you’ll need for a DIY bee hotel
- A wooden box (or planks of wood to build one)
- Hollow stems of various diameters
- A mirror fixing to hang the bee hotel up
How to build a bee hotel?
- Make a wooden box
- Fill it in with hollow stems from various plants. Make sure they are the same length as the depth of your box.
- Different species of bees prefer different diameters, but the best range to aim for is between 2-10 mm. Bamboo canes and reeds are great choices.
- Find a sunny spot and using a mirror fixing, or something similar, hang up your masterpiece.
- Wait for the first bee to show up and check in!
Bee hotel ideas and tips
- Keep your DIY bee hotel dry by placing it in a spot that’s protected from rain.
- Secure it firmly to make sure wind won’t make it sway or, even worse, tip it over.
- If you don’t have reeds available, you can also use block of wood that have been drilled in various diameters. Even rolled-up paper can be useful. The key is to create little tunnel-like structures that replicate the preferred places where solitary bees lay their eggs: narrow holes.
- Protect bees from birds looking for a quick lunch by installing a wire mesh at the entrance of the hotel.
- Make sure you clean your bee hotel every fall and replace the reeds, ready for the new bee guests in the spring.
Getting bees into your bee hotel
Now that you know all the tricks of the trade and are ready to build an amazing bee hotel for the local solitary pollinators, you may be wondering how to get bees interested in moving in. Having a bee-friendly garden is a great place to start. There are many beautiful flowers bees find attractive and that you can easily grow in your garden. Lavender, sunflowers, bluebells and foxgloves are some of the flowers bees like best and that will attract them to the nearby bee hotel in your garden.
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