DIY,  Solitary Bees

How to Make a Bee House for Mason Bees

Beekeeping isn’t just a hobby for people who want to make a profit by selling honey; it’s also useful for flower pollination in a garden. Additionally, gardeners are always looking for new ways to decorate and improve their garden.

You can use a bee house to increase the wellness of your garden. For this purpose, you need a different kind of bee and a different kind of bee house than what you would need for harvesting honey.

Regular beehives are usually enclosed with one small entrance for bees to enter and exit through. Mason bee houses have a completely alternate setup.

Mason bee houses are open-faced with lots of individual holes or spaces for the bees to live in, usually made of bamboo or cardboard tubes bunched together horizontally. The main purpose of a bee house is pollination and the type of bees that do solely pollination tend to live in holes, rather than one giant beehive like honey bees.

Garden Bee House

Place a bee house in your garden for decoration and as a way to help your flowers grow bigger and faster. You can either buy a bee house or make one. Of course, if you build it yourself, it will look more unique. Feel free to customize the shape of the house, the color, and the bee homes inside of the house to match the overall look of the garden.

For example, if you have a garden with lots of warm, brightly colored flowers, maybe consider making a bee house that is round and painted bright yellow. For a garden with blue or purple flowers, make a teardrop-shaped bee house that is painted white or just plain exposed wood; and, for flowers that are earth tones with lots of greenery, make a bee house out of dark wood with tree bark accents that has an all-natural feel to it.

These are just some ideas that you might consider using. Design it however you want, just make sure that there is plenty of spaces for lots of mason bees.

Types of Bees to Put Inside a Bee House

Not all bees enjoy living in a manmade structure like a bee house. In fact, many species of bees burrow into the ground and live there – typically the bees that don’t make honey. Honey bees are known for living in beehives, but they wouldn’t enjoy a mason bee house. There simply wouldn’t be enough room for their lifestyle or for proper honey production.

pollination bee on flowers

The only types of bees that can go in a bee house are small pollination bees. Some bee species you could use are Mason Bees (also called Orchard Mason Bees) or Leafcutter Bees. They’re both great pollinators, small to medium-sized, and enjoy living in holes or cavities, like what is in a bee house.

How to Make Your Bee House

Bee houses can have any exterior shape that you want. The only criteria is that it has an open side on the front, and that it snuggly fits bamboo or cardboard bee tubes.

These tubes are where the bees will nest. If you have a small bamboo plant at home, you could make these tubes easily. Otherwise, you can buy them online.

How to Put it All Together

There’s no specific order required for how you put your bee house together into a final product. However, here’s a general set of steps you can follow.

  • Step one: Make or buy bamboo or carboard tubes for bee nesting. The diameter of the tubes should be around 8mm or a little bigger. They don’t have to all be the same size, as long as you don’t make them too big or too small.
  • Step two: Create a box, house, circle, or any shape of containment that you want. It should be around 15mm deep with the two largest sides open for placement of tubes.
  • Step three: Place the tubes inside of the bee house. They can be neatly arranged in rows or placed randomly; it won’t make a difference to the bees, either way. You can get creative with the layout of the bee house and make it as luxurious or plain as you want.
  • Step four: Mount a loop on top of the bee house. Make sure it is secure; the bee house will be hanging from the loop, so you don’t want it to break and make the bees fall.
  • Step five: Decorate the bee house. You can paint the house or leave the wood plain. Make it however you want.

Take Care of Your New Bee House

Keep up with the maintenance of the new bee house that you’ve created. Bees need to stay healthy in order to keep up with their pollination routines. If pollination is lacking, the flowers in your garden won’t thrive the way they should be. Do regular checks on the bee house. Look for evidence of pests, mold, and excess debris.

bee house

Any of these things could potentially cause the hive to fail. If you do, unfortunately, find a damaged bamboo tube, you can buy a replacement tube online for cheap. Usually, a set of them is between 10 and 20 dollars, unless, of course, you’re making them yourself, which will work fine as well.

Bee houses aren’t just great for gardens; you can place them anywhere outside. The bees will need flowers nearby for pollinating, but you don’t have to plant a whole garden around it if you don’t want to. What matters is that the bees can live and thrive in the home you make for them. A bee house isn’t just for decoration; it’s a way to help build the bee population.