Building Beeautiful Bee Houses

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What better science project than to combine science and construction? That’s what the bees do, anyway. They’re master builders, and you can help them by creating bee habitats in your garden.

We’ve already talked about bee watching and how you can create excellent bee habitat simply by planting flowers in your yard. If you’d like to take a bee-watching hobby a step further, you can design bee habitats for your garden.

If you want to attract mason bees, go for holes and mud. These little, gentle bees make homes in small holes and use mud to plug up their nests. Make a simple mason bee nest by placing large drinking straws into a plastic water bottle. Hang it in a sunny, sheltered area. If you’d like to create a more formal-looking bee house, get a block of untreated wood and drill holes in it. There are many instructions for bee house plans that will give you the exact instructions and hole sizes for bees in your area.Mason bees also love to have a source of fresh mud. Keep some damp mud in the bottom of a planter in your garden, and the bees will love you!

Bumblebees are a ground-nesting bee. These bees are in danger because people dig up their nests, both by mistake and on purpose. Be kind to bees and create more habitat for these bumbling pollinators. It’s easy to make a bumblebee nest. Simply take a terrcotta pot and fill it up part way with straw. Place a tube into the pot to allow the bees to enter and exit easily, then place then pot upside down in the ground. Make sure that the end of the pipe is showing, since this is the entrance hole. Truly, any container with bedding in it and access via a small hole will do. Experiment!

Of course, the honeybee is the bee that many of us want to keep. Tomorrow we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of hosting a hive in your garden!

Enjoy your living science experiment, and let me know how it goes!

Image Courtesy of zeafonzo

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