Making a bee hotel will not only provide a home for our most precious species, but is a great project for a long weekend. Bee houses are a brilliant way to attract bees to your garden – and help those that are tired rest up before they continue their hard pollinating work.
So you might be wondering why you need to make a house for bees when they live in hives, right? Well many species of British bee are actually solitary and prefer to make their nest alone in any suitable hole. Often a few bees will create their nests together so a bee hotel is perfect for giving all of them a space to call their own. Plus it stops some species of bee like the masonry bee from finding soft bits of mortar on your property to nest in – so consider it a great way to give them a home while protecting your own.
Of course, you can easily buy a pre-made bee house or bee hotel (see our selection below), but it's quite easy to make one from old pallets, if you fancy a weekend DIY project. See the easy steps* to making one below.
Get more garden ideas at our dedicated page.
How to make a bee hotel
You will need:
- 1 x 5L outdoor wood paint (we used 5 Year Ducksback Silver Copse (opens in new tab)™)
- 1 x rough sawn wood pallet (opens in new tab)
- 1 x hand saw (opens in new tab)
- 3 x flat head nails (opens in new tab)
- Sandpaper (opens in new tab)/ flexible sanding pad
- 2 x 2” paint brush (opens in new tab)
- Collection of straw, pine cones, hessian, jute, natural dried grasses, cut bamboo etc.
- Fine mesh chicken wire (opens in new tab)
- 8-10 metal pins (opens in new tab)
- Wire clippers (opens in new tab)
- Fixing bracket (opens in new tab), drill (opens in new tab) and screws (opens in new tab)
1. Saw off the end of the pallet using a hand saw.
2. Lever off one of the planks from the discarded pallet and nail to the back of the cut section creating an open fronted box with two long slots.
3. Lightly sand the pallet then paint with two coats of Cuprinol 5 Year Ducksback in your favourite colour. Make sure you dust off after sanding with a clean brush. Allow to dry.
4. Once dry fill each slot with natural materials.
5. Cut a length of chicken wire to cover the open front and hammer in small staples to keep in place. Trim to size. Fix bracket to the back, hang off a fence and wait for the bugs to set up home in their new bug hotel.
*This bee house making guide has been provided by Cuprinol (opens in new tab)
How to make a bee post or bee brick
Want an even easier way to make a bee hotel? All you need is a thick plank of wood and a drill. Drill holes of various sizes, the largest being 10mm in diameter. Then, smooth the insides of the holes with sandpaper, or the bees won't like using them. Drill a hole in the back of the plank and hang over a nail on a sheltered wall or fence.
You can repeat this process with a brick if you have a masonry drill and either hang up the brick or place it on top of a fence or wall. For a low-DIY option, grab a few airbricks and arrange in a pile in a sheltered spot with the holes facing out. This is a no-drill choice but still gives bees a home.