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One way to keep bees in your garden is by installing a bee house or bee hotel. If you love DIY projects, I’ve found this excellent video from Avon Wildlife Trust in the UK that shows you exactly how to make your own bee hotel. You can use these instructions to craft your own bee house, no matter where you are in the world.
Supplies NeededSmall logs like this Eucalyptus log fencing - 6 inches high
Bamboo cane fencing - 6 inches high (separate the fencing so that you have individual bamboo canes)
Timber for the box (make sure you use something that’s weatherproof and long-lasting such as marine ply)
Screws to hold the box panels together
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 - Make The Outer Box
The only dimension that’s important when making your box is the depth. Ideally, you want this to be around 6 inches (15 cm). Our example box is 8 inches (20 cm) wide and 12 inches (30 cm) high.
Cut 2 pieces of timber for the sides (6 inches by 12 inches)
Cut 1 piece of timber for the back (8 inches by 12 inches)
Cut 2 pieces for the roof (the sizes will depend on the pitch of the roof that you want)
Cut 2 smaller pieces for the top and the bottom of the box (8 inches by 6 inches)
Once you’ve cut all of your pieces of timber to size, build your simple box and secure all the pieces using small screws.
Step 2 - Create Your Inserts
Take the materials that you’ve gathered for the inserts and cut them to a length of 6 inches. This is the same depth as the box you’ve just made.
Then it’s just a case of drilling holes into each piece using wood drills. These holes can be anywhere from 0.08 inches (2mm) to 0.4 inches (10 mm) in diameter.
To make it simple, use ⅛, ¼ and ⅜ drill bits or sizes similar to these.
Try and make the holes as deep as your drill bit will allow because the deeper the holes are, the more eggs the bees can lay.
Make sure that you drill a variety of different-sized holes in each piece and ensure that the holes are nice and smooth and clean.
You might also get some sandpaper and smooth over the ends of each piece.
Step 3 - Fill Your Box With The Logs, Offcuts And Bamboo Canes
Now it’s time to fill your box with the inserts. These can be arranged in any way that you want but you want to make sure that you fill all the gaps and that the materials are well-compacted and secure within the box.
Step 4 - Find A Sunny Spot In Your Garden To Place Your Bee Hotel
A wall that faces to the south is ideal. The bee house should be a minimum of 40 inches (1 metre) off the ground. You can either attach it to the wall or attach it to the top of a stake that you’ve pushed securely into the ground.
Don’t forget to add the roof from the two sections that you’ve cut in the beginning for this. This will keep the rain off and keep your bees nice and dry when they’re inside their house.
If you don’t have the time to make your own bee hotel, check out this article for the ten best bee houses that you can buy.
With these, all you have to do is install them in your garden and wait for the bees to take up residence.