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Build a bee hotel and give your solitary little friends a place to rest and pamper themselves, we all know they have been as busy as the Dickens.
When we think of bees we often think of beehives and mass colonies, but in fact, most of our UK bees are solitary in nature, unlike their bumblebee and honeybee cousins. The hunt for somewhere to settle is something that most of us can empathise with - female bees spend most of their lives searching for a suitable nest. Old beetle holes, hollow stems and sometimes just holes in the ground are just some of the many places that they lay their eggs. Providing a suitable home will attract bees to you, and give your garden’s flowers a boost - as bees are a gardener’s best friend.
  • Plenty of reed, bamboo, bramble or any hollow stem that provides a hole ranging from 2-10mm in order to attract a wide range of species (bees prefer 3-5mm so you just want standard bees, this is the size range you require).

  • Untreated plank of wood, roughly 10cm wide.

  • Drill, saw, screws and secateurs.

  • A fixing to hang the finished nest (try mirror fixings, however, this depends on how you would like to attach the hotel)

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Solitary bees will check out your hotel in the spring, some may even check-in. Females will lay their eggs with a store of pollen for her hatchlings to eat. The egg is sealed behind a plug of mud, young bees will emerge the following year.
  • Cut the plank into 4, make a wooden frame for the stems of varying sizes to sit inside.

  • We advise that you drill guide holes before assembling the frame to prevent the wood from splitting.

  • Pick your best stems, the straighter the better and remember to have a good variety of sizes. Cut your stems down to the depth of the wooden frame that you have previously made.

  • Start packing the stems into the frame, this should become tighter when you push the last few stems into place. Using bigger stems makes your hotel look attractive and also this will give shelter to small birds over the winter. 

  • Finally, add the backing board and the fixture

  • Fix the hotel away from the ground, on a wall that gets plenty of sun and is sheltered from the rain.

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