Many folks are wondering how they can do their part to help our bee populations. Planting bee-friendly flowers, encouraging wildflowers, and making sure there are always flowers to go around are ways of making sure our bees have plenty of food. But the other things that our native bees need is a place to lay their eggs! Many of our wild bees lay their eggs underground, but others nest above ground in cavities such as hollow plant stems, or holes in brick or wood. We can provide these above-ground nesting bees with additional habitat by making bee hotels. Bee hotels mimic these natural nesting sites and encourage bees to nest in an area that makes them easy for us to observe them!
There are many different ways of building bee hotels, but I wanted to share a short video produced by the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph. This video shows an easy way to build your own bee hotel by using things around your neighbourhood, but there are a couple of things the video doesn’t mention. First, in the fall the nest should be moved indoors or protected from the snow! In the spring (early April) the nest can be moved back outside to allow the bees to emerge. Once they have emerged, it is very important that the tubes are either replaced or thoroughly cleaned. This prevents the spread of disease in newly nesting bees.
Check out the video below!