Looking for a simple and fun way to help our planet?
Build a backyard hotel.
If you don’t have a backyard, build one on your balcony.
These hotels are not just for any overnight guests- your backyard hotel is for a very special guest, one that may be the very reason our planet survives.
We’re talking about a hotel for bees. And before you start thinking of all the stings you may get- your beautiful bee guests are native, friendly little critters and very rarely sting – (if they ever do, the sting is much milder, making them safer to have buzzing around your home.)
Native bees are solitary bees and travel alone, so you won’t have to worry about attacking swarms either.
The bee population is in decline. In fact, according to some scientists, our planet is destined to last only another 60 years unless we can increase the bee population.
As pollinators, bees, butterflies and insects play an essential role in our gardens. They transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilising plants so they start forming fruits and seeds. Seventy of the top one hundred most popular food crops are pollinated by bees, and they pollinate around 75% of all flowering plants on Earth!
Unfortunately, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects are under increasing threat due to pesticides, parasites and climate change – but we can help them by using responsible gardening practices, planting flowers to attract them, and providing them with shelter. Their very own hotel!
Bees simply want a home. As far as bees go, the native bees are fairly low maintenance when it comes it comes to what they want in their hotel home. Being solitary bees, they don’t live in hives, preferring to nest in natures hollows, holes and cracks.
To attract the bees you need to create a suitable environment, which is really pretty simple to do (DIY and store bought details further down), and you can be as creative with your design as you wish.
The best materials to use are timber, bamboo sticks, old hoses and straws, fence palings, fruit crates… you name it – just make sure all materials are non-toxic and there are plenty of smooth, cylindrical spaces wide enough (bees range in size from 2mm to 10mm) for the pollinators to seek refuge, and at least 15cm deep.
Every hotel, and home, needs landscaping. What you will need to complete your project are some plants that will encourage the bees to visit your garden or balcony.
Look for herbs and flowers that grow in pots such as chives, thyme, mint, parsley, dill, lavender, rosemary and geraniums.
As the bees return to their hotel, they’ll pollinate your vegies, herbs and flowers along the way. The more bees you have residing at your home, the more your garden will flourish and the more the bees can reproduce. It’s definitely a win-win!
In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location, and this rule applies to bee hotels too.
They like a warm, sunny, sheltered spot and the hotel should hang at least one metre off the ground (and no higher than two).
You’ll know the bees have checked into your hotel, when you notice your cylinders have been covered by a mud ‘door’, which means a female bee has laid an egg inside.
BEE READY MADE AND DIY
Now, if you’re not the hotel building kind of person, don’t think all is lost. You can still make this happen!
There are companies now that have bee hotel kits such as Mr Fothergill – phew, crisis averted! Visit Mr Fothergills
to find the perfect hotel ready to go.
If you are a handyman but need more tips and how to information, click here:
GET TO IT
Your weekend project is sorted – become a bee hotelier- and help save our planet!