Giving bees a friendly living space helps to preserve their dwindling populations and inspires them to look after your plants. A happy garden buzzing with little pollinators? Now that sounds bee-eautiful.
Pollinator bees are disappearing quickly. In an effort to make it easier for them to find a place to call home, bee hotels have opened their doors across Canada. These large-scale hotels may seem imposing, but you can easily squeeze some bee-friendly nooks and crannies into your own backyard.
Keep it natural
When selecting materials to construct your bee hotel, be sure to choose natural nesting materials. The aim is to try and replicate the natural forest habitats where bees normally make their homes in hollow stems or tunnels in the ground. Hollow stems, wood, leaves, and vines are all good nesting materials. If you need some inspiration, check the Wild for Bees page.
How to build
Hollow stems should be tightly packed into a container that is open at one end. Good containers are cinderblocks, pipes, or recycled bottles. The purpose of the container is to protect the hotel from rain and disturbances. It should be placed in a sunny spot, at least a metre off the ground with nothing blocking the entrance.
You can also choose to drill holes into blocks of wood. The holes should be a maximum of 0.4 in (1 cm) wide, with a variety of smaller sizes to accommodate those teeny bees. Make sure to sand and clean off the surface of the wood after drilling as bees are picky and won’t nest in messy holes.
How to help attract bees
Like all of us, bees will gravitate toward places where they feel welcome. Plant a pollinator-friendly garden, and ensure that they have a safe water supply. More on that here.
What’s the stinger?
None at all! Solitary bees are harmless and only sting if you happen to squash them between your fingers. Even then, they do not have a painful sting like wasps and honeybees. Once the bees’ eggs have hatched, they will move on to other habitats, meaning that your visitors will not outstay their welcome.