Introduction: How to Make Bee Houses
YuKonstruct helped a local biologist to make 30 bee houses for Yukon solitary cavity-nesting bees. She then used them in her citizen science monitoring initiative.
There are lots of different ways to make a bee house, and this is just one pattern that is easy to make and functional for a wide variety of bee species.
- 6" by 6" post
- Plywood - 16" by 17"
- Burlap 25" by 10"
- Waterproof varnish
- Drill - a drillpress is much easier, if available to you;
- 1/4”, 5/16”, and 3/8” drillbits - must belong enough to be able to go through a 6" post.
- Utility knife
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Step 1: The Body
The main body is cut from a six by six inch post.
- Using a chopsaw, cut a 6" by 6" post to 10"; one end cut at a 15 degree angle. The long side will become the back of the house and the shorter side will become the front.
- Map out the holes - 6 rows of holes, 10 holes in each row. Each hole is spaced 3/4“ from adjacent holes.The first and fourth row will be small holes, the second and fifth row will be medium holes and the third and sixth rows will be the largest holes.
- Drill the holes through the entire depth of the 6" block -- 1/4”, 5/16”, and 3/8”. This is much easier when you use a drill press as it is important to drill straight.
We couldn't drill all of the way through the block with the drill press (only 4" in), so we finished off with a hand drill as pictured.`
Step 2: Back and Roof
Cut the plywood back support 6”wide and 15½” tall and the roof 8” wide by 8” deep. Bevel one edge of the roof to a 15 degree angle.
- Nail the back support into the long side of the block.
- Centre the block onto the back and leave overlap at both the top and the bottom - a little bit more at the top.
- It is really important to make sure that you don't nail into any of the bee holes, so make sure you line up well and hammer straight.
- Line up the beveled edge so that it is flush with the plywood back support.
- Screw the roof onto the angled top of the block.
- Paint the roof with the waterproof varnish and allow it to dry.
Step 3: Burlap
Staple burlap over the sides and roof of the bee house, and you're finished!
Step 4: Placement
Put up your bee house where you want to encourage (or monitor) native bees, and where there is less disturbance to the area. You can nail the back of the house directly into a stump or a fence, as you see here.
These 30 bee houses were put up near haskap berry farms and other areas likely to attract bees. Hopefully our native bees, like the mason bee (Hoplitus fulgida) pictured here, enjoy their new homes!