How to Build Bee Hotels to Help Save Native Bees

Bees are extremely important for our ecosystem, and a garden with numerous happy bees is rich in healthy plants.

Words by Ariana Marisol

Bees are extremely important for our ecosystem, and a garden with numerous happy bees is rich in healthy plants.  Over 4,000 species of bees are native to North America and they are far more efficient in pollinating than the European honeybee.

Unfortunately, these bees lose their habitat at a fast rate, so their population is drastically reduced.

However, there are ways to help them, and one of them is to welcome them in your own garden and create a house for them. More than 90% of all bee species are solitary, so each female will build her own nest close to other females of the same species.

A bee house will be a simple and attractive addition to your yard or garden, and it will serve as habitat for the solitary cavity-nesting bees.

These houses are actually an artificial nesting structure that mason bees, and other solitary bees, can use to lay their eggs. These houses will be the safe space bees need, away from bad weather, predators, and dangerous chemicals, which can interfere with a successful reproductive cycle.

Yet, even though there are commercially made bee hotels that can be bought, many of their designs may unintentionally put bee larvae at risk. For instance, plastic or glass tubes can hold moisture, and promote the growth of fungus and bacteria.

Additionally, there are certain designs that are very difficult to clean or replace used cavities, and the necessary hole diameter is sometimes specific to local species, so an inappropriately sized tube hole can promote parasites and predation.

You can build a bee hotel and give bees a shelter in a very simple way, and you will need some kind of box or container, filled with sticks, pinecones, bamboo shoots, or logs with drilled holes in them.

Take a look at the following simple ideas:

  • In order to make sturdy roofs for the bee houses, you can use license plates, or if you already have a birdhouse, you can use it for the house base and add a bent license plate on the top to create a roof. Take off the walls of the birdhouse, use the framing, and add wooden blocks with holes drilled in them, or bamboo stalks.

  • To make hibernation areas for the bees, use cardboard, clay pots, and put sticks, pinecones, and cardboard all together in a clay pot to make a beautiful area for the bees.
  • Moreover, you will need cinderblocks to create multi-storied high-rise bee hotels, and using bamboo stalks or a stump drilled with holes into the cinderblock gaps, you will make a nesting area.

  • Add small tubes or bamboo cuts in a mason jar to make a small living area for the bees, and set it in the garden.
  • Add bamboo canes or bits of wood in an upcycled wine box, arrange them in an interesting way, and your bee hotel will get a nice texture. 

Make your garden prettier with these decorative been homes and the bees will thank you!

This article was originally published here.

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