How to build a bee hotel
Whether you’re a budding gardener or looking for a way to keep nature-loving kids entertained, building a bee hotel is a great way to attract important insects into your garden.
Who doesn’t love listening to the calming hum of bees buzzing as they bob from flower to flower during the warmer months? These insects are vital to the maintenance of our planet. This is because we rely on them to pollinate a huge chunk of the food we eat, including crops, vegetables and fruit.
Credit: Mark Phillips / Alamy Stock Photo
Why build a bee hotel?
Building a bee hotel is a great way to help solitary bees. Unlike honeybees and bumblebees, solitary bees live and build their nests alone, usually in tunnels, hollow stems and beetle holes. If you create a ready-made place for them to lay their eggs, it’s highly likely they will come and take up residence there. So, why not lend bees a helping hand and build them a place to stay to encourage them to visit your garden?
Discover more bee blogs
What you'll need
- A plank of untreated wood, at least 10cm wide
- A saw, drill and nails
- Reeds, bamboo canes and hollow stems in a range of diameters
- A mirror fixing/something to hang the hotel up with
How to build a bee hotel
- Cut your plank of wood into five pieces. Three pieces should be the same size – this will form the rectangle frame that will support the roof. Two of these pieces will need to be cut away at a right angle to create a sloping edge to house the roof. For the remaining two pieces, one should be slightly longer than the other as they will form the roof on top at a 90-degree angle. The reeds, bamboo canes and hollow stems will sit inside the frame.
- Drill some guide holes for the screws to fit into and assemble the frame.
- Next, cut your stems, reeds and canes so that they fit the depth of the frame. You can use a saw or secateurs to do this.
- Load the frame with your canes, reeds and stems, packing them in as tightly as possible. If you have extra space, you can always add circular bits of wood with holes drilled in to diversify your bee habitat.
- Attach the mirror fixing to the back of the frame. You’ll want to position your bee hotel facing south, in a sunny spot that is sheltered away from any rain.
Credit: iStock.com / gabort71
How to attract bees to your bee hotel
Aside from placing your bee hotel facing south, the best way of attracting bees to your new B&B is by planting lots of bee-friendly wildflowers in your garden. Bluebells, knapweed, hellebore and honeysuckle are all well loved by bees.