What’s The Buzz About Bee Hotels

Bees are pollinators, meaning that they carry pollen from one flower to another spreading life everywhere they fly. However, many people believe that all bees live in hives and will sting people without warning or reason. This is simply not true however, as many bees, like the Mason Bee live alone in holes found in trees that other insects make. These bees also are very good-natured and hardly ever sting for any reason. These sweet little buzzers’ are an amazing gift for any garden and will increase the overall health for any garden. They are cross-pollinators who fly over flowers, branches, and trees, spreading life wherever the fly. So, how can you help make sure these incredibly important little guys have everything they need to survive and thrive in your garden or on your land? Well, as mentioned earlier, the nest in holes make in trees made by other insects, but what if all the big old trees with the nice roomy holes for the bees have been cut down? You can help encourage the bees to come on to your garden anyways by building them their very own Bee Hotel. These man-made contraptions mimic the habitat these buzzers’ live in the wild and gives them a great place to create their waterproof cocoons to make it safely through the winters, and gives them a comfy spot to rest.

Hot Tips:

  • Place in near direct sunlight, placing in shade invites wasps into the holes, causing problems.
  • Mount this at almost eye level, so that bees have room to land and take off, and are safer from predators.
  • These are not aggressive bees, but they do have stingers and will sting when in danger, and their venom is very mild.
  • Also, if bees decide to take up residence in the bee hotel the kids have created, it is important to clean the hotel after every winter when the bees come out of their hibernation.
  • For more info about bees in general go to thehoneybeeconservancy.org for more great information.

Kid-Friendly DIY Bee Hotel Instructions

What you need:

  • One small to medium can (soup, sauce, etc.)
  • 20 to 30 pieces of paper- preferably brown or a dark green
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • Some rope or twine
  • Sandpaper or some other sanding material
  • Hot glue
  • Paint (optional)

What to do:

  1. Let the kids paint their cans and then dry off before moving on to Step 2 (totally optional) If paint is or is not used, the wrappers on the cans must be removed.
  2. Take the can and sand down any sharp edges (this is the only step where adult help is required, this is for the safety of the children and the bees)
  3. Begin rolling the paper into cylinders ranging from roughly 1/8th of an inch to roughly ½ of an inch in diameter (to fit bees of all ages and sizes). When the cylinders are formed, place tape in the middle and rear sections to keep it together, and you may tape the front, but do so sparingly.
  4. Cut the tubes to create different lengths, some need to be ling enough to protrude out of the can a little, while others need to be even with the lip of the can, and others need to be fully inside the dimensions of the can.
  5. Begin placing the tubes in the can, staggering them (or just letting the kiddos put tem in however they want, so long as the tubes are straight they are pretty much ok) and ensuring that they are not overcrowded.
  6. Use hot glue to secure any loose rolls of paper to the edges of the can, so they will not fall out, but make sure not to use too much and cover the holes up. (teacher assistance may be needed for this part)
  7. Take the string and wrap it around the main body of the can and tie a knot to ensure the can will not fall out but leave enough for the kids to tie off the can to a piece of standing structure near their own gardens.