I've made a larger bee home a while back just for the heck of it, and I was actually surprised to find it inhabited a few weeks ago. Since the bee population is kind of on the decline with all the chemicals being used everywhere and whatnot, it's good to try and help them out with places to nest so that they can continue to pollinate your fruits and berries.
This is just a real easy project, great to put up around the house or even better, in the garden to attract those helpful bees. Really, the bees will nest in any holes that are in a safe and dry space, so this can be made from a wide range or scrap materials.
- a few scrap boards/planks
- a log or two
- Nails and Hammer
- Drill or Drill Press
- Some kind of Chop, Miter, Slide, or Circulating Saw to cut the boards. A good hand saw, if that's all you have, will do.
- Sand paper, if you want it to look nice
Step 1: Materials
I figure the best way to do this is to have your bee house attached to something solid such as a post or tree, although I have seen ones that are meant to hang from something, but that seems like it wouldn't be so good in the wind. You can choose either way, but I go with attaching them to something solid with a backboard.
Step 2: Cutting your blocks to size
Remember, safety first! Ear protection is a must when operating loud saws! Feel free to use eye protection as well.
I went ahead and cut the split log on the slide saw that I usually use, but the round log was too large a diameter, so I used my chop saw on it.
Now I have 5 pieces to choose from to start my bee house.
Step 3: Drilling the holes
Now, there are a few things I chose not to do here. The first, I did not make any kind of markings as to where I wanted the holes, I just drilled in a more or less organized fashion. The spacing is important, so I kept them far enough apart, but the overall layout doesn't really matter to the bees nor to me. The second, I did not use any other size bit, only a 3/8 bit, so there might be some bees that might not be able to live here. I might use other bits in the future, but not this time.
I encourage everyone to do their own research on this, as I am only covering the simplest way possible to make a bee home.
Step 4: Fitting the shingles
First, I just stood them up about how they needed to be, and marked about how long I wanted them. After that, I went and cut them both on the slide saw, which I didn't get a picture of. Next, you just nail them on real quick. I just used these little nails, four of them for each side.
The shingles were a bit to wide for the split log piece, so I had to chop them up a bit; I'm sure you can compensate for whatever for you use.
After you get the shingles marked, cut, and nailed on, you should have a block of would that hopefully now resembles a small house. Very enticing to those Mason bees that need homes.
Do your best not to put the nails into the holes you drilled.
Step 5: Attaching the backboard
Step 6: Finishing it up
Naturally, I chose not to sand it or do anything special, but that's just me.
Step 7: Nail it up!
If nothing else, I hope this at least inspires you to look up some better and more detailed ways of creating homes for bees, since they are a vital part of our way of life, and the threat to them from pesticides and what not is very real.
Step 8: Example
Thank you for reading!