Building a bee hotel

As well as being an attractive and nature friendly garden feature, bee hotels are also remarkably easy to build. Having a bee hotel in your garden will provide a safe sleeping place for solitary bees, who will in turn keep your flowers and vegetables pollinated and looking beautiful.

Once you’ve watched this video, you’ll know just how easy it is to make your own bee hotel. It gives advice on where to position it, shows you how to cut the wood to size, join the sections and then how to decorate, fill and hang the bee hotel.

Preparation & Planning

Before building, have the location where you will hang the bee hotel in mind. The chosen location should be at least 1 meter off the ground and facing either south or east so that it can capture as much sunlight and warmth as possible.

Choose a sound and level surface to assemble your workbench. By using a workbench, you will be able to secure the wood which will help you to saw accurately and safely.

Aftercare

Make sure that the bee hotel is secured firmly and doesn’t move in the wind, its best to check this after storms. By the end of the summer, if some of the bamboo is blocked over with soil or leaf residue then its likely that bees are nesting in your bee hotel, if so, move the hotel somewhere dry and cold, like a shed or garage. This will help to protect the nesting bees during the winter months. Then, place the bee hotel outside again in spring. After two years, its best to replace the log sections of the bee hotel.

Hints & tips

Use the 90-degree guide marker on your saw to help you make accurate cuts. Also, always clearly mark the wood before sawing so you have a line to follow. To prolong the life of the bee hotel, use both wood adhesive and panel pins when joining the sections, this will help to make it sturdier. You can also paint the bee hotel with garden paint to stop the wood from attracting moisture.

Safety

Make sure you firmly secure the wood before sawing and take care when hammering in the pins. Also, it's best to wear safety glasses when drilling the hole in the back of the bee hotel.