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Muddy Faces

Make a simple bee hotel

A simple activity to create a nesting site for solitary bees.

Nature

Introduction

In the UK we have 270 species of bee and of these just under 250 are solitary bees. Solitary bees create nests/holes in the ground to lay their eggs, so by creating a hotel of tubes you can create a perfect safe spot for a bee life cycle to commence.


What you'll need

  • old bamboo canes or pack of bee nesting tubes or use hollow stems like dried dock
  • pencil
  • hacksaw
  • string
  • gloves
  • elastic band (optional)

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Environmental Considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

  • re-use garden canes

Health & Safety Considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:

  • tool use
  • handling long bamboo canes
  • splinters from bamboo

Step #1 Source your tubes

Give a shout out to any keen gardeners or someone who has an allotment and see if you can source some old garden bamboo canes. They often get damaged and become too short to use to support plants.

Explore your local area and see if you can find any sticks/stems lying around which are hollow.

Top tip:

You can remove the pith from elder - see our Elder Bead activity for instructions.

Nature

Step #2 cut hollow tubes to length

Find a suitable working area with plenty of space, especially if you are cutting full length canes.

Using a hacksaw cut your canes into lengths of around 5cm. Cut enough to create a bundle that can be tied together.

Top tips:

  • use a clamp or get someone to hold the cane whilst sawing
  • 'let the saw do the work'!
  • be careful - cutting with secateurs increases the chance of the cane splitting (particularly old canes)

If your pieces of cane split, repurpose them as seed labels!


Nature

Step #3 tie the tubes together

Bundle your tubes together and tie up with some string.

Top Tip:

Use an elastic band to hold the tubes together before you tie with the string, then remove the elastic band once it is all secure.

Nature

Step #4 find a home for your hotel

Preferably find a warm and shady spot (not in direct sun) that is protected from driving rain, and hang your bee hotel about 1m off the ground.

You could use a little hook to hang the bundle up - the bee hotel pictured has been placed just under the extended roof of a playhouse.

Take it further:

  • keep a look out for bees using the bee hotel and see if you can identify which species of bee are using it
  • make a small frame to protect the tubes

Disclaimer: Muddy Faces cannot take any responsibility for accidents or damage that occurs as a result of following this activity.You are responsible for making sure the activity is conducted safely.



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