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Native bees are pollinators that practically nobody hears about, honey bees get all the attention. Surprisingly there’s over 4,000 kinds of native bees and we want to help them and appreciate them. Some of these bees are small and more delicate than the big honey bee. That’s why I don’t use any garden pesticides, because it kills them easy, they’re little. So you can have a hive without building the typical hive everyone thinks about. You won’t get any honey but you’ll still get something, you get the most important benefit of all, they pollinate for us.
North America didn’t have honey bees until the europeans brought over hives. Before that it was all these little north american native bees doing all the work, so they’re defiantly capable of pollinating your garden. That’s why today I’m going to build a bee hotel for our little native bees.
What is a bee hotel?
Some native bees like to lay their eggs in a little hole in an old rotten log. So our bee hotel is going to be a wood frame filled with logs and plenty of holes. I’m going to make it so easy and inviting all the native bees will move in and lay their eggs here. And my garden will flourish from all the little pollinators which are awesome.
How To Build The Bee Hotel
Now I’m going to tell you how I built my bee hotel step by step.
First you’re going to need a 2×4, cut the 2×4 into two 12 inch pieces and two 18 inch pieces, that’s going to be the frame.
I want a little roof so I got a 1×6 and I cut two 19 inch pieces, and then I have the center brace which is 10 inches long made out of a 2×4, cut into a point, angled so it can hold the roof up.
Then I screw the frame together using 3 inch deck screws.
The next part we have to cut is some kind of logs or posts, I like a variety of sizes so I did some of both.
I’m not putting a back on it, because I’m screwing it to my decorative garden wall. You can use either a piece of plywood, door skin, or even chicken wire can hold the back of the logs in place.
Once you have all your logs cut, now the fun part is arranging them in the frame.
After I screw the frame to my decorative garden wall, I’m using liquid nails to glue each log in place.
I have a piece of tin flashing and I thought it would be so cute to put it on as the little tin roof, it provides shade and rain cover for our little bee house.
Last but not least we drill the little bee holes, their bedrooms, I’m using a few different sized drill bits; 3/32, 5/16, & 3/8.
This bee house will attract the Mason Bees. There are other kinds of native bees but they build their nest in the ground. Mason Bees use clay or mud to make their nest, how the nest works is the female visits flowers, and collects pollen, then she forms a ball of pollen and nectar and she puts that in the back of the little hole. Then she lays an egg in the pollen and nectar ball. Then she uses mud to block off the partition with a little mud ball, then she keeps repeating that until the whole tube is filled with eggs and mud balls. Then she caps off the end. Mason Bees are gentle and not aggressive. They’re solitary and don’t have a hive so they’ll love your new bee house. So please add a bee house to your garden, it’s easy and fun to make in a weekend and it helps the environment.