Solitary bees are very useful to us gardeners, and are the type of bee that will likely frequent the bee hotels you can make for the garden.
They’re fantastic pollinators of a wide range of plants, particularly of fruit trees and bushes in spring, being able to fly and reach these plants in cool, sometimes rainy weather to pollinate them when they need it.
They like to make their nests in little tunnels, meaning any old, strong bamboo canes with sizeable enough holes, about half a centimetre wide or more, can be fashioned into a nice little nesting site for them.
It’s wonderful to see homemade nests being used, and you’ll be surprised – if it’s in the right spot – to see how many bees frequent it!
Mason and leafcutter bees will use little bits of plant leaf to create cigar-like tubes as nests in the holes, so be prepared to notice one or two holey leaves during nesting time! Mason bees also like to use teasel and sunflower stems to nest, so these will work too.
For a more secure, ‘hotel-like’ look, enclose all your stems or canes in a frontless wooden box and hang on the wall.
How to make a bee hotel: Step by step
- Select some robust lengths of old bamboo cane that have hollow centres
- Trim to a rough size of 10 – 12cm using secateurs, or you may need a saw
- Line them up and tie them together securely at the top and bottom with twine
- Hang up securely on a sunny wall or tree branch, sheltered from the rain