Saturday, March 04, 2017

Revitalizing A Bee Hotel

An Orchard Mason Bee heading into one of the holes at full speed.
Last year I made and used bee hotels for the first time. We have Orchard Mason Bees in our area, so I looked online for information about how to build a bee hotel that would meet their needs.

In our area Mason Bees hatch, begin feeding and look for likely nesting sites in March.

Last year's filled nesting blocks resting under the front porch.
Males emerge first but have to wait for females before the mating season begins. Mason Bees remain active for 4 to six weeks. While they feed and collect pollen for their nests and larvae, they are busy with the important process of plant pollination.

Old nesting blocks face southeast to catch the morning sun and encourage hatching.

Building bee hotels is a simple process. I made mine from old birdhouses. Drill nesting blocks out of untreated wood you have on hand. I use driftwood sticks. Drill 6-inch deep 5/16-inch holes with an opening only in the front. Mount your hotel above ground, where it won't sway, facing south or southeast for plenty of sun.

Drilling blocks 6" deep encourages female production.

Larvae mature during the summer and remain dormant from fall through winter. A freezing snap followed by increased sunshine and warming weather breaks their dormancy. To get ready for the hatching phase, and to provide new nesting sites, Wayne and I made new blocks. We gently moved the old ones to a location nearby so the hatchlings can easily find their new nesting blocks.

New nesting blocks with 5/16" holes also encourages female production.

See below for detailed information from making my bee hotel and nesting blocks last year.

Building a Simple Mason Bee Hotel
Drilling Nesting Blocks for a Bee Hotel
Bee Hotel Update

New bee hotel nesting blocks ready for Spring 2017.
Do you encourage bees to feed, pollinate and nest where you live? Plant some flowers that attract bees either in your garden or in pots on your deck. It's as easy as that. -- Margy

6 comments:

  1. This is great, I have an old birdhouse that has had the hole chewed way too big, so could take off the front pice and add some logs. I will have to add that to my crafting list :)

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    1. That's exactly what I did. Mine didn't have a sturdy construction so I had to glue the walls once the front was removed. - Margy

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  2. Hello, I think it awesome you are helping out the bees. The hotel are cool looking. Great idea.
    Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day and the weekend!

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    1. I saw some similar ones at the local store for $45. Mine were basically free. I did buy twelve commercial tubes to put in the open spaces as an experiment this year. They cost $.36 each and the replacement inserts were $.12 each. - Margy

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  3. My mum has something similar and they are always fully occupied. Great idea to help out the poor endangered bees xxx

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    1. We have lots of wasps and flies that appear to be bees, but the only bee varieties I know of are the Mason Bees and Bumblebees. - Margy

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