Make Your Own Bee Hotel

May 20, 2015

After our interview with Dave Goulson author of A Buzz in the Meadow and A Sting in the Tailwe asked him what else we could do to help bees, aside from planting bee-friendly gardens. He mentioned making a "bee hotel." We often think of honeybee hives buzzing with activity, and while communal living is a trait for some bees, other bees are more solitary and they like to nest in holes. Often these holes are left behind by wood boring insects in tree trunks. These days, those holes become harder for bees to come by; the bee equivalent of a housing shortage. For these types of bees, it's a nice gesture to provide them with a place to stay. 

Credit lamdogjunkie via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/f5HUNq

Bee hotels can be made from a wide variety of materials. Dave made one out of an old fence post that he stuck in the ground and then drilled  holes all along the  post. For Dave the hotel was an instant success, "Within 20 minutes, I had the first bee come and take up residence in one of these holes and start filling it with pollen." 

Dave also recommends getting a bunch of bamboo canes, sawing them into foot long lengths and tying them into a bundle with wire or some twine. Then hang up your modern bee boutique hotel on a sunny wall and wait for your first guests. 

Solitary bee arrives carrying part of a leaf. It has laid its eggs in the bamboo, and left a supply of food for when they hatch. Now the bee is sealing up the entrance to the bamboo with layer after layer of leaf.
Credit Picture Esk via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/8eDfJJ
Within 20 minutes, I had the first bee come and take up residence in one of these holes and start filling it with pollen.

 

Credit Nigel Jones via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4XG98B

As with any new real estate venture, there's no guarantee you'll fill the rooms in your swanky bee hotel, but if you do manage to provide respite for a few bees, who knows, maybe you'll create a buzz. 

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