It’s been such a bee-zy buzz-y week for me, and I think I deserve a break the rest of this weekend. But before I curl up with a good book, I want to share something I made (with some help from hubby David) for World Bee Day this year. 🐝 I probably don’t need to tell you how much our survival depends on our pollinating friends since the save-the-bees movement has had a big push over the last decade, so much so that related memes have swarmed into our digital consciousness.
Not really a meme, but Brian Bilston deserves special mention as his clever and insightful poem “The Last Bee“ particularly resonated with me.
Our garden is pretty wild so there’s a lot there to keep bees buzzin’ and butterflies love to visit too. 🦋 A few years back, I even managed to capture them together on video, merrily sharing a cluster of flowers. 🌼
You can do your bit for the eco system by growing a bee-friendly garden, reviving tired ones with sugar water, or simply avoiding pesticides (including products that use them). If you’re more inclined towards crafty approach like me, you can even build them a bee hotel! 🏨
The more widely-known bee species such as honey bees 🍯 and bumblebees have hives to go back to. However 90% of bees in the UK are actually solitary and could do with a little help in finding places to nest. That’s where you come in…
A bee hotel is quite easy to build and you can make it out of scraps. The hardest items to get hold of would be the bamboo canes (or reed tubes) since there aren’t many places where you can easily gather them in the wild, and I didn’t have any lying around either, but I suppose anyone who does a lot of gardening may already have some. They can be bought at most garden centres (or online) though. 🖱️
Here’s a list of materials and tools you will need:
• Large Plastic Bottle
• String / Twine
• Air-Dry Clay
• Bamboo Canes / Reed Tubes
• Weatherproof Decoration (Optional)
• Ruler / Measuring Tape
• Sandpaper (optional)
Cut off and recycle the top of the bottle. ✂️♻️ It doesn’t matter how much of the top you remove, but bear in mind that the clay would add a bit of weight to one end so the final product will need enough length to hang level when you string it up.
Sand away the sharp edges (optional) and pack some clay into the bottom of the bottle.
Cut the canes/tubes into shorter pieces, but make sure they are still long enough to poke out the top of the cut bottle after you stick them in the clay. Ideally you want them all to be the same length. However, the diameter would need to vary because, much like humans, bees come in all bee-autiful sizes! 💖
Pack the pieces of canes/tubes tightly into the bottle.
Tie the string/twine 🧶 round each end of the bee hotel and then thread through a third piece of string to create a handle/loop.
It would help if your bottle had the same diameter from top to bottom as you don’t want to create any spaces that bees could get trapped in. The pretty washi tape that I put around it was as much for ornamental purposes as it was to ensure there are no gaps.
Hang your bee hotel at about waist or chest height (minimum one metre above ground) in a south-facing position ☀️ near flowers or shrubs, but make sure nothing is obstructing the entrance.
Bees can now make the DIY hotel a home during spring and summer. Mine isn’t exactly five-star accommodation, but I hope they won’t find it too shab-bee! 😅
If you’re looking for alternative ways to make a bee hotel, take a look at these tutorials and ideas 💡 from RSPB and The Woodland Trust.
Know someone who loves bees? Get them one of the many cute bee merch out there, like this “let it bee” tee from Wish! 🛍️ Prefer to go down the ethical route? For a small donation you can gift them 🎁 this stunning Bee Saver Kit from Friends of the Earth.
To learn more about bee conservation projects, the Bee Friendly Trust and British Bee Charity have websites with resources 📚 that will also make a difference.