You have probably heard of the worrying decline in bee populations throughout the world. These beautiful creatures play a vital role in the pollination of flowers, vegetables, nuts and fruit. Now you can play your part in helping to save the world’s bees by making your very own bee hotel. This will be a nesting place where solitary bees lay their eggs and the eggs develop into adult bees.
Building a bee hotel is surprisingly simple and easy. A basic one could be made in less than half an hour. You can buy some bee hotels, but don’t add one to your
Benefits of a bee hotel
Bees are needed to pollinate flowers. Having bees around will help your garden or balcony to look more vibrant and colourful, as the bees will help your flowers to reproduce. The bees that will stay in your bee hotel will be solitary bees. These do not live in hives. Solitary bees are very unlikely to sting as they will not be defending honey and are generally not aggressive.
Making a bee hotel can also be a fun thing to do with your kids. It’s a great way to get them to take an interest in nature and encourages them to go outside and be creative.
A very quick and easy bee hotel
If you are rushed for time then you can make a very basic bee hotel. All you need is some bamboo and an old juice carton (use one made from stiff cardboard with a waxy coating). Cut two opposite sides out of the carton. Saw the bamboo sticks into pieces so that they will fit and fill the carton with them. The bees can then make a home for themselves inside the hollow bamboo tubes. Alternatively, you can fill the juice carton with a wooden block and drill some holes of different sizes into the wood for the bees to use.
A bigger bee hotel
If you have the time, it is well worth making something rather more substantial, which will last much longer and be more likely to encourage bees to breed.
A larger bee hotel will be able to host a wider variety of types and sizes of bee. Instead of a juice carton, start with a wooden box to create the shell of your hotel. Remove one side of the box and fill it with tunnels for the bees to shelter in. These tunnels can be made from a combination of different materials. Examples include individual bamboo sticks, blocks of wood into which you have drilled holes and bricks.
You may also use foam (the type used for flower arranging) with holes punched into it. If using foam you don’t have to make the tunnels too wide as the bees can mould them out to their own preference. Perhaps add some pine cones behind some mesh wire for variety.
If you want a more natural look you can even make your simply hotel by drilling holes in a log.
Where to position the bee hotel
Place the bee hotel in a sunny, dry area in your garden or on your balcony. Ideally the hotel should face south or south-east. Make sure that there are brightly colored flowers or blossoming trees nearby. The hotel should be firmly attached so that it does not sway in the wind. Now sit back and enjoy watching the wildlife!