Anybody know how to build a bee house?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by scilover, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. scilover

    scilover Member

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    Hai there! Just wanted to ask for second opinion. Anybody here ever build a bee house before? I am thinking of building one at the back of my house. Read about it. But still a bit confuse. It is advisable to build the house from breathable material. Can I use Bamboo? Or should I use real wood? A little help would be wonderful!

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  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The bee house illustrated is the type that is used for Blue Mason Bees in our area. I don't know if you have any similar bees in Malaysia. Note that this type of house does not work for Honey Bees; it is used for solitary bees only. There are many types of solitary bees, and the holes that they use for egg-laying vary in size. The illustration suggests holes sizes of 2 to 10 mm, which may or may not apply to Malaysia. You should try to obtain some local information about hole sizes. The basic principle is to build a waterproof container that holds numerous horizontal tubes made of some breathable material that can be opened up to expose the bee pupae inside. Paper or light cardboard tubes or stronger tubes with removable liners can be used. Holes drilled in wooden blocks have been used, but can't be reused easily unless fitted with removable liners. I think that bamboo tubes might be too difficult to open up, but I haven't tried them. Some types of bamboo might work if they are relatively easy to split. I usually use dried invasive knotweed stems approximately 8-12 mm in diameter. Note that the holes should only be open at the entrance to the house.
     
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  3. Neill McCallum

    Neill McCallum New Member

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    I started my own mason bee house a few years ago and they can be a lot of fun (they do a great job pollinating our blueberry plants). I agree with vitog that you should find out what lives in your area and what their preference might be for hole sizes. There is a lot of misinformation about bee houses and "bug hotels" out there that I would be careful of. I have noticed a lot of stores are selling "bee houses" that are not really in the best interest of housing bees and may cause more harm then good. Making your own can be pretty easy and the style depends on what you would like to achieve.

    I have been using paper tubes for my houses but would like to make my own wooden shelf style house for mason bees to cut down on waste.
     
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  4. bihai

    bihai Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Oh I have wanted to do this! How does one learn how??
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  6. bihai

    bihai Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Thanks! They sell remade ones here in box stores but they look kind of hokey and are pretty expensive
     
  7. Neill McCallum

    Neill McCallum New Member

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    I have read over the files from Junglekeeper, very informative but I have learned that drilled holes in wood and bamboo are not preferred options for bee hotels. The best options are reeds, paper tubes or trays. Reason being is hygiene. An entire population of Leafcutter bees were once almost wiped out across North America due to an outbreak of chalkbrood disease as drilled holes in wood could not be cleaned. Being able to remove and clean your nests is essential to helping them survive. I highly recommend checking out Crown Bees - BeeKeeping Supplies, Mason and Leafcutter Bees for Sale they have great informative videos on mason bees and leafcutter bees and also sell quality products. I have seen that trays are a safe, reusable option as you can take them apart, clean them inside and out and they allow you to remove the cocoons easily. If making your own, avoid cedar wood as it naturally deters insects like bees.
     
  8. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I have found that Mason Bees prefer tubes (Knotweed stalks are what I use) over stackable trays. If the both types are set out even 10 metres apart, the bees will almost always select the tubes, which are not reusable and must be new every year. The trays that I use are an old style with semicircular holes; so, they might be less preferable than ones with circular holes.
     

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