Bringing Bees to Your Garden
This blog post was written by Blair Scott, a guest blogger for Nature Canada.
This summer you can attract bees to your garden with more than your wildflowers! We have created a step-by-step guide on how you can make your own Mason Bee Hive. This bee hive can be easily made from recycled material that you have in your home and will help to bring back the bees.
How to Construct a Mason Bee Hive:
This tubular-style of hive will primarily attract solitary bees such as the Mason Bee and the Leaf-cutter Bee.
- Materials needed: scissors, tape, a pencil, a marker, an empty and clean aluminum can, two toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls cut in half), straws and/or a magazine, enthusiasm!
- Start building: Take your two toilet paper rolls and place them inside your aluminum can – you want the rolls to be about 4 inches long – just long enough so that they do not stretch past the rim of the can. Finished product in this step should resemble “owl eyes,” and should have a tight fit inside the can.
- Have some fun: paint the can, put stickers on it, bright colours – whatever you feel like doing to liven it up!
- Bee tubes 101: diameter measurements of the tubes should range anywhere between 1/8 – 1/2 of an inch – this is the preferred width of the Mason Bees. To make your tubes, you can use straws (already ready to insert) or rolled-up, durable pieces of paper (ex: magazine paper).
- Make your bee tubes: If you have chosen to roll your own tubes, you will need both a pencil and a slightly-larger marker – to achieve tube-size variation. Smaller tube: align a pencil on top of a sheet of durable paper and start rolling, keeping it tightly bundled! Before you remove the pencil from your tube, tape it together. Larger tube: The same as above, but with a marker that is larger than the pencil. Tape it together. Repeat until you have a substantial number of tubes to fill the toilet paper rolls with.
- Tube construction continued: remember to vary the sizes of your tubes – some bees want a big hole, others prefer a small dwelling. Your tubes do not have to look perfect or be a certain colour to attract these bees. Just make sure that they fall within the proper diameter range, and that there is a clear view inside – any crinkled parts that arose during the “rolling step” should be manually straightened out.
- Fill your toilet paper rolls with the bee tubes! To ensure that the hive is tight and bee-ready, shake it to make sure that no tubes fall out.
- Put it in your garden or wherever you like! Be creative – there is no need to buy fancy, expensive tools or materials from the hardware store. #1 Tip = keep it out of the rain! Nestle it somewhere safe where it fits tightly or glue/tie it to a wooden post. Your hive-building adventure is complete!
For the full video, click here.