Updated/Fact-Chacked on May 4, 2022 by John
Everyone tries to help out honeybees and forget about all the other bee species in the UK. While the growth of urban beekeeping has exploded, little is done to support the other 270 bee species. As Kew Gardens recently stated:
“Campaigns encouraging people to save bees have resulted in an unsustainable proliferation in urban beekeeping. This approach only saves one species of bee, the honeybee, with no regard for how honeybees interact with other, native species.”
One species that get little attention is the solitary bee, which lives alone unlike ‘social bees’ in hives. Most make nests in the ground, but some species like aerial nests – the perfect place being a manmade bee hotel.
This article is a guide on how to build a beehouse that will attract bees and other insects.
Before you start making a beehive, you, first of all, need to have the required materials to make the bee house. some of the most crucial materials include the following;
- A drill
- A wooden box or empty bottle
- Bamboo sticks/ cardboard tubes with hallow stems
- Secateurs saw, and screws
- A hook
- Steps to make a bee house
Step 1: Prepare the Container
The first step when making a bee house is to prepare the wooden box. This will depend on what you are using, either a wooden box or an empty plastic bottle. If you are using a wooden box, then you need to remove one side of the wood. Make sure you are not using untreated wood to make a place where your bees live. If it’s plastic, then make sure it’s large enough for the activity. But it is also important to remember that it is encouraged to avoid plastic straws when preparing a place where bees will lay eggs.
If you are handy with wood, you could make this structure yourself.
Step 2: Prepare the Bamboo Sticks
The next step is to prepare the bamboo sticks (hollow stems). This step will require you to cut the bamboo canes to the same length as the depth of the container you prepared in step 1. It is recommended that cut bamboo sticks into different sizes so that the bees can choose among the various sizes.
You can also choose to use wooden blocks instead of bamboo tubes. If this is your choice, then you need to drill holes of between 2mm and 10mm into the blocks. Clean the holes and remove any splinters since bees like clean surfaces for bee larva.
Step 3: Pack the Bamboo Sticks or Wooden Blocks Into the Container
Once you have your bamboo pieces cut into the required sizes or the wooden block with the required holes, you can now fit them into the box or plastic that you prepared in step 1.
Step 4: Attach a Hook
By the time you finish step 3, you are basically done preparing your solitary bee houses. But for it to be used for the purposes for which it was meant, it has to be hung somewhere. It is this hanging that necessitates step 4, where you are required to attach a hook to the back of the bee house. Once you have attached the hook, you can now safely hang the bee hotel in the morning sun, facing either south or southeast. Note that the bee house should hang at least a meter above the ground to avoid vegetation blocking and where it cannot rain on the bee larvae.
The size of the hook will depend on several factors, such as the size of the beehive, the location, and so on. If you have a larger bee house, then you must also have a larger and stronger hook from which to suspend the hive. Smaller bee houses do not need a big hook.
While it might sound hard to build a good bee house, following these simple steps will help you have the best DIY bee house in your garden, without having to worry about the budget. Most of the materials used in all the steps in this guide can be found at home, and you don’t need any specialised expertise.
John Green is a 46-year-old graphic designer living in Durham. John is RHS level 3 certified and owns an allotment in Durham.