Over the years, we have made our garden pollinator friendly by adding a variety of features! It is exciting to watch these homes and places being utilized by benefiting creatures. We have also seen the benefits of these features as they have encouraged different types of bees to come into the garden and help pollinate flowers - especially in our vegetable garden.
The bee hotels we placed in our garden were made in a post or block style, and painted with acrylic paint for aesthetics. We leave these homes all year round in the garden.
To make your bee home, get a 4x4 block of wood and drill holes in varying sizes from 2 mm to 10mm in diameter. Different sizes will encourage different species of bees. Once the holes are drilled remove splinters by sanding and smoothing the holes.
It is best to use thick untreated timber. Fix this post to a sunny wall, fence or any other permanent structure at least 3 feet off the ground in the garden. The top of the bee hotels have a shelter on the top so rainwater doesn't get into the hole.
Bee hotels do not need to be painted. However, we did paint a meadow on both sides of this bee hotel. We first placed tin metal sheet pieces that we had from another project and painted using Deco Art acrylic paint.
Some of the holes are filled with mud by solitary mason bees - the female bee finds a hollow hole, lays an egg, places food for the larvae, and seals the hole with mud or leaf debris and leaves. Once the larvae is formed into a bee it will chew its way through the mud and fly out. We have placed these hotels further from each other in different areas of the garden where there are lots of flowers for them to get pollen and nectar from.
It is important to keep the hotel clean every year after the bees have left to encourage bees to continue their process.
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