Make a hotel for bees
Many bee species live in little tubes and tunnels. This is where they build their nests and lay their eggs. These bees are so important because they pollinate our plants to make fruit, vegetables, and more plants!
Leafcutter Bees prepare nests and lay eggs in late summer. They’re extremely gentle, solitary bees, which means they don’t live in colonies like Honey Bees, and don’t sting to protect their eggs. They’re called Leafcutters because they seal up each tube or tunnel with small leaf bits.
Follow the steps below to make your own Bee Hotel! (And don't forget to give it a name. We called ours Hotel Buzzy Buzz.)
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Yellow paint, paintbrush, construction paper strips, glue stick, jute cord, empty tin can, pencil.
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Remove the paper from an empty tin can, such as a can of beans, corn or soup. Wash and dry the can.
- Paint the can yellow. You may need 2-3 coats to get a solid look. Set aside to dry.
- Apply glue to one long edge of a paper strip. Starting at the clean long edge, roll the paper around a pencil until you reach the edge with the glue. Press firmly around the pencil so the paper sticks and keeps its cylinder shape. Remove the pencil. Place the paper tube in the tin can.
- Repeat step 3 with your family until the can is full of paper tubes. The tubes should be packed tightly, so none fall out when you tip the can over.
- Tie the jute around the can, then use the rest of the cord to secure the can to a sunny tree or fence post. Make sure it’s nice and sturdy.
TIPS FOR A BUSY BEE HOTEL
Place your Bee Hotel facing early morning sun (bees love warmth!) and near leaves (they don’t like traveling far to get their leaf bits). Roses, lilacs, hosta plants, and pea leaves are the Leafcutters’ favorites.
Make sure your Bee Hotel is tied securely to a branch or fence post. You could even secure the jute cord to the fence with a nail. You don’t want it to sway in the wind; that could harm the developing bees.
In late August, store your can of filled nesting holes (open ends up) in an unheated, dry garage or shed. Bring it out again in the spring so the larvae can become adult bees and pollinate your yard.
If you don’t see any bee activity this year, bring your Bee Hotel inside for the winter and put it out again next spring, with new nesting tubes. (If you’d rather not roll up all that paper again, use paper straws instead!)