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How to make a bee hotel

You will need

  • A plank of untreated wood or ply at least 10cm wide
  • A plentiful supply of hollow stems such as reeds, bamboo canes or old flower stems
  • Wood saw, drill, screws and secateurs
  • A mirror fixing for hanging the hotel
Do it: All year round
Takes just: 1 hour

Overview

Give beneficial pollinating insects a home by making a bee hotel. The female of the non-aggressive mason bee species lays eggs in hollow stems such as bamboo, teasel and sunflower stems. So why not make a bee hotel for her in which she can lay her eggs? Collect old flower stalks or bamboo canes, follow our simple steps and you could be watching the fascinating insects in your garden this summer. Ideally, holes should vary in diameter between 2mm and 10mm, to attract the widest range of species.


How to do it

1

Cut the plank into four pieces to make a rectangular frame for the bee hotel. Drill guide holes for the screws and assemble the frame as if making a box. Paint the wood if you would like to and allow to dry.


2

Use secateurs or a saw to cut your stems to the same depth as the box. A saw is preferable to secateurs for thicker stems as the stems are less likely to split. Sand away any rough edges.


3

Carefully pack the frame of the bee hotel with the stems – only as you add the final few does the whole lattice lock solid. Hang your bee hotel on a sunny wall, sheltered from the rain, and wait for the mason bees to investigate it in the spring.


Our tip

Although Japanese knotweed is a real pest, its dead stems are perfect for the bee hotel. Easy to gather and cut, they are available in a range of diameters.




Discuss this project

Talkback: How to make a bee hotel
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rogerdennis 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Last year I made a hedgehog house, dont knpow yet whether I had one take up residence as I havent looked yet

summerplace 24/11/2011 at 15:28

We saw bees using a small hole under a waterfall construction in the garden, last year and could hear noise of the activity under there,(bees buzzing ) but as a bee tried to enter this spring it was prevented by a large spider, Does this mean that this location will not be used by the bees again or will they try to gain access from another hole, I hope so because we would love to have them back. I found your blog very interesting and I will use some of your tips to try and get them to return.

peter pumpkin 24/11/2011 at 15:28

very interesting ill try it

myself 24/11/2011 at 15:28

It's ok if you like bees!!!

Habitat_Aid 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Try a winebox and fennel and elder stems for a more extensive hotel...

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