Bee Homes GuideReading time: 3 minutes
We all know how important our Bee friends are, but what is the deal with Bee Homes?
Bee Homes are little houses made out of wood or plastic that include brown paper nest tubes for solitary bees.
Solitary bees, like the Mason bee, live alone and do not swarm. They rarely sting and are not aggressive making them safe around kids and pets. Bee Homes are becoming ever popular- it’s a little way you can help the bees enjoy more blooms and greater harvests in your outdoor space!
Ready to Purchase A Bee Home For Your Yard?
Here’s what to know:
- Ensure the label doesn’t include honeybees or other hive bees: bee homes are not meant for hive bees, this should be a warning sign that the home may include materials or a design that is harmful instead of helpful for solitary bees
- Should Include Removable Tubes: for cleaning* & replacement purposes
- Tubes Should Close One Side (back of the house) & Be About 15cm Long: stops access for parasites and promotes most diversity as females are laid in the deeper chambers
- No Sharp Edges / Slivers
- Roof With Overhang: protects the home from water getting in which will cause mold
- Solid Attachment or Mount: homes should not swing or dangle, they need to be sturdy and secure
- Instructions: proper bee homes will include details about species it helps, how to mount/attach, and how to care for the bees and their new home
- Smaller The Better: bee homes should be small- multi-specie homes don’t work and the larger the home the more parasites and predators it will attract
Easy DIY Bee Home
- Empty, clean, waterproof milk carton, coffee canister, can, wood or 2-liter bottle
- Brown Paper Nest Tubes (Online/Garden Store) Or roll your own tubes with brown paper and a pencil
- OPTIONAL exterior zero – or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to decorate
1. Pick your material for your Bee house (above) *If using wood, ensure it is NOT pressure treated.
2. Fill the box with layered stacks of brown paper nest tubes
a. Cut the tubes to a length between 5 – 10 centimeters (2 – 4 inches)
b. If rolling your own, ideal diameter is no more than ¼ inch
c. Close the end with tape or a staple, or fold them in half
3. Hang your Bee Home somewhere out of the rain, facing south or east, at eye level, once the temperature outside has warmed to 12 °C - 14°C
a. When hanging/mounting ensure that the home doesn’t sway or swing
4. Ensure that there is moist clay near your Bee Home- they will use this as a construction material to seal up their bee babies for the winter!
5. Replace the tubes each year, once last years bees have left, to keep the house clean, free of parasites and ready for the next tenants