Introduction: Mason Bee House (Great for Kids and Gardens!)
Pollinators are an essential part of many ecosystems throughout the United States. They are invaluable to many plant species. Human activities have threatened both native and non-native pollinators at an alarming rate. From climate change to habitat destruction to pesticides, pollinators are on the decline nationwide. One way to help our your neighborhood pollinator is to build a Mason Bee House! Mason bees rarely sting (the males don't even have the ability to sting) and are great pollinators for backyard gardens.
This build is super easy and can be done by kids and adults alike with materials you probably have around the house! The build took me about an hour. Check out the video to watch me build one!
Small waterproof container - Soda bottle, coffee can, etc.
Box Cutter (if using a plastic bottle)
Cardboard Rolls (from toilet paper or paper towels)
A few paper bags
Step 1: Prep Your House
If you are using a coffee can or the like, clean and dry the container.
If you are using a plastic bottle, use a box cutter to cut off the neck of the bottle. Be careful with the box cutter! This part is best left to an adult to complete.
Step 2: Stuff Cardboard Tubes
Cut your cardboard tubes so that they are the same height as the container. Stuff as many as can fit into the container. They should be snug and shouldn't fall out when you turn the container over.
Step 3: Roll the Bee Tubes
Cut the paper bags into small pieces of paper. They should be as tall as your container and a four or five inches wide. Using a pen, roll up the pieces of paper. Use tape to secure the edge. Place tape over one end of the tube. Put the tube, taped end down into the container. Continue until the container is stuffed full of tubes. They should not fall out when the container is turned upside down.
Step 4: Hang Your Bee House!
Now that your bee house is complete, grab some string and hang it in your back yard! Now you just need to wait for the bees to come flying in.
If you notice birds trying to get into your bee house, you can cover the front with chicken wire. The bees use mud to help seal the bee house, so it's great if you can have some dirt available to the bees!
I'd love to hear how your bee houses turn out!