Bee hotel

Building a bee hotel

Get out and about in spring and help bees

Many bee species are in decline, partly because they can’t find a place to nest. But you can help. Follow this simple guide and create a 5-star hotel for your local pollinators and you’ll get to watch them in action, too.

Packing hollow stems into a tube to build a bee hotel

Packing hollow stems into a tube. They make good nesting places for many bee species.

You will need:

  • a 2-litre plastic drinks bottle
  • a metre of string
  • enough pieces of bamboo or other hollow stems to fill the bottle
  • a pair of scissors or secateurs (to be used by an adult)
  • some nails and a hammer (to be used by an adult)

How to build a bee hotel

Tying a bow around the packed tube to build a bee hotel

Tying a bow around the packed tube. This bee hotel is nearly finished.

  1. Make your tube. Ask an adult to cut the top off your drinks bottle.
  2. Ask an adult to cut the bamboo and hollow stems to the same length. Then pack them tightly into your plastic tube.
  3. Tie string tightly around the tube at 2 points. Now connect these loops with a loose length of string to make a handle.
  4. Choose a nice sunny spot of fence or wall in your garden to hang up your hotel and ask an adult to hammer in a nail. Attach your bee hotel to this with the string handle. Make sure it is level.
Leaf-cutter bee © Mick Massie

Perhaps a leaf-cutter bee will stay in your hotel. © Mick Massie

But don’t all bees live in hives?

Honeybees do, but there are more than 200 bee species that don’t, such as bumblebees and solitary bees. The hotel you are making is suitable for solitary bees.

What bees will check into your hotel?

It depends on where you live and what flowers you have nearby, but you might spot red mason bees, blue mason bees, leaf-cutter bees or white-faced bees.

You can find out more about solitary bees and see photographs on the OPAL bee hotel project website.

Don't worry about getting stung

Solitary bees are harmless and not aggressive. They rarely, if ever, sting unless they are squashed between your fingers. And they don’t have painful stings like honeybees.

This article was originally published in Wild World, our magazine for kids.