Bees have an essential part to play in maintaining our planet. We need them to pollinate the food we need to survive and many trees and flowers that provide habitats for many other wildlife.
Q: Why should I build a bee hotel for the bees?
A: Bees are in decline globally as they face many threats, some of which threaten our trees and woods too. The threats are habitat loss, climate change, parasites and diseases, and Invasive species. Research has found that there is a direct link between pollination and human health, because not only do bees pollinate food crops, they improve the nutrient value of the crops they pollinate.
Almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators such as bees. Crops that depend on pollination are five times more valuable than those that do not.
In areas of China, some crops are hand pollinated by humans who have to climb the trees and use a brush! Imagine that! That is because overuse of pesticides means there is no longer a healthy bee population to do the work for them for free!
Q: I want to build a bee hotel, what are some plans?
A: Here are some resources for good bee hotel plans.
Q: Where should I put my bee hotel?
A: In full sun, facing south or southeast. Locate your bee hotel at least a meter off the ground, with no vegetation blocking the entrance. Keep it dry at all times, to prevent the contents from going moldy. Near flowers and shrubs.
Q: How big do the holes need to be?
A: It depends on the bee you are trying to attract. Use this chart or do your own research.
Q: How deep do the holes need to be?
A: Native bees vary greatly in size; the bigger the bee, the larger the diameter and greater depth they require for their nest hole. Drill holes ranging from 1/8” to ½” in diameter into the end of each block or log, spacing them about ½” to ¾” apart. Holes larger than ¼” should be 5” to 6” deep, while holes ¼” or smaller should be 3” to 5” deep.
Q: What wood should I use?
A: The exterior walls of a bee hotel may be made with almost any lumber scraps you happen to have lying around. Freshly purchased pressure-treated wood should be avoided, though, as the chemicals inside will deter the bees. Older, weathered pressure-treated lumber is fine.
Q: How can I safely attract the bees to my hotel?
A: Having a bee house in your garden is a fun family activity that also helps native bees. To attract bees to a bee house you should provide good housing, and possibly plant a pollinator garden.
Q: Will a bee hotel attract wasps?
A: There were a lot of wasps residing in bee condos. It’s not a bad thing if you are growing fruit trees and fruiting plants. That’s because wasps eat insect pests including aphids, caterpillars, inch worms, and beetle grubs.
Q: Should I clean out my bee hotel?
A: You don’t have to clean bee houses, but it really helps protect your bees from mold, mites and wasps, and gives them a better chance in the spring.