Building a bee hotel provides a place for solitary bees to hatch their young. It is easy to make and fun to do with a little person and a great learning opportunity. Kids really care about their environment. They get it, very simply. Helping to save the bees is the perfect cause for your budding environmentalist to get behind.
1. Build or find a simple frame for your hotel. In our example we’ve tacked together 4 pieces of 1×6 roughly 8”x8”. You could cut the ends off a milk carton, a big can, use a piece of PVC pipe, plenty of options.
2. Collect dry, hollow or pithy stems, reeds, grasses even a bamboo stake cut to length will work. The bee will be laying eggs the whole length of the tube, creating cells and leaving nectar or pollen for the larva . Different sizes from 2mm up to 10mm diameter will do.
3. Cut them to fit inside your hotel and layer them randomly until full.
4. Position your hotel so that it receives mid to late morning SE sun about a meter off the ?ground. Make sure that it is stable and not swinging so don’t hang it on a branch.
5. In the winter place the bee house somewhere dry. Cold will not bother the bees, its the ?dampness. Hopefully there are lots of bee babies in the hotel so treat it well!
Alternately, you could drill holes in a piece of wood following the same principles as above.
Things to remember:
• DON’T pick/spray your dandelions. They are the first food in Spring for the hungry bees.
• if birds or other pests after the grubs become a problem, put chicken wire on the face of the hotel to discourage stealing.
• replace the stems every other year in case mould or parasites are present.