A bee hotel makes the perfect nesting site for female solitary bees, including red mason bees and leafcutter bees. These solitary bees are not aggressive and are highly unlikely to sting. Unlike social bees like bumblebees and honeybees, solitary bees nest individually, laying eggs in hollow stems such as bamboo, teasel and sunflower stems.
How to make a bee hotel
Make a wooden box and fill it with hollow stems such as old flower stalks or bamboo canes, which you have dried thoroughly and cut to size. Ideally, holes should vary in diameter between 2mm and 10mm, to attract the widest range of species.
Site your bee hotel in a sunny spot, ideally so it gets the morning sun. To reduce the risk of fungal infections and predators, take down your bee hotel every autumn and store it in a cool, dry location such as your shed. Replace the hollow stems with fresh ones every spring, as soon as the new adults have emerged.
More on gardening for bees:
Follow our step-by-step guide to making a bee hotel, below.
Kate Bradbury says
Leafcutter bees typically use rose, beech and wisteria leaves to seal the individual brood cells in the hollow stems. Why not give them a helping hand by growing these plants in your garden? You’ll quickly see when your hotel is in use as you’ll spot bees carrying pieces of leaf to seal their brood cells.