The warmer months are here, and the flowers are all blooming. It’s common knowledge that the beauty we see in spring is thanks to the most famous pollinator: the bee. Bees play an essential role not just in our garden, but around the world. Bees contribute to nearly 85 percent of crop pollination, meaning they’re key to food growth and sustainability.
Now, normally we don’t like to see bees in our yard. We’re worried about them stinging us, our children, or our pets. A nest that’s built in a house can be a real pain—both literally and figuratively. And, in those cases, it’s often best to have them removed in the most ecological way possible. We don’t necessarily want to kill bees because of the role they play in the food chain, but there are times when it’s needed.
That said, there are good uses for bees right in your yard, especially if you value beautiful flowers and plentiful vegetable gardens. For a blooming backyard, bees are your best friend.
So, how do you attract bees without endangering your family? The answer is simple: build a bee hotel. These structures attract solitary bees, who live by themselves and not in typical beehives. Because they don’t have a nest to protect they are less likely to sting. And with a safe place to hang out (away from your house), they can go about their business pollinating your plants without you having to worry about them building a nest nearby.
But the best reason of all to build a bee hotel is to help them survive. Bees around the world have been steadily losing their natural habit, causing their populations to dwindle. And lower bee populations threaten the human food chain. You can be a sort of eco-hero by building a place where they can flourish and continue to contribute to a healthy global ecosystem!
Here are some instructions to construct your bee hotel so these important insects can live in a nurturing and peaceful home during the spring.
- Hollow plant stems, for example, bamboo shoots or cardboard tubes (like toilet paper or paper towel rolls)
- Four 1-inch thick planks
- A wood saw
- A drill
- Pruning shears
- A mirror fixing to hang the hotel
- Modeling clay
- The paint of your choice (optional)
How to build the hotel:
- Build the frame by first drilling guide holes in each plank for the screws. Then assemble them into a box using the screws to fasten the planks together.
- Using the pruning shears or your saw, cut the stems or tubes to the depth of your box.
- Us the sandpaper to smooth the extremities of the stems, otherwise, the bees could cut their wings or not go in to avoid the sharp splinters.
- Fill the frame with your bamboo shoots, other hollow stems, or tubes. You want them to be as compact as possible, and unable to move. Use modeling clay to stick the pieces stick together more easily. Once it is completely packed, your hotel should be secure.
- Hang your hotel up in a sunny area, sheltered from the rain using your mirror mount.
Place your bee hotel in an out-of-the-way part of your yard, away from other structures, to ensure that they do their business without interrupting yours.
BONUS TIP: Store your bee hotel in a cool and dry place in the fall to prevent fungus. Set it back up in the spring when new adult bees emerge, replacing the hollow stems if they seem moldy or decayed.
Now, if you have a bee or wasp problem (as in a nest that’s attached to your house), you should call a professional to safely remove it. We’re happy to help you at any time.
Don’t hesitate to call us
If you see a lot of bees in your home, then it’s probably a good idea to call us. You might have a home infestation, and they might not even be the type to help your garden.