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Gardening

DIY Bee/Insect Hotel

Ever since we have a garden again, I’ve been itching to DIY a bee/insect hotel. We have plenty of housing for insects in the vegetation in the garden, but I like the idea of helping nature.. And besides, the more bees and insects, the better for the garden!

I also chose to make one instead of buying one so I could use some of the unused materials on the property. I can also make it as big/small as I want, and it’ll be made of nothing but natural materials.

First of all, I needed a base. The logs we still had from the fallen tree would be perfect for this! They’re all-natural, thoroughly dried and, as an added bonus, hollow!

The log I chose to use.
The log I chose to use on this project. It’s looks nice, doesn’t have too many nooks and crannies and most importantly, has a pretty flat side it can lie on.

I mostly wanted to make a refuge for bees and bumblebees, since they pollinate our (vegetable) plants and they have a hard time existing all around the world. I also love seeing them buzz around in their fuzzy jackets : )

The tools I used:

To turn the log into a bee/insect hotel I used the following tools:

  • A drill with wood drill bits of 5, 6 and 8mm
  • Something that’s probably an end mill bit. I used it to make the entrances of the tunnels a bit wider so bees won’t tear their wings on small splinters (you can also use a slightly bigger wood drill bit instead)
  • Pliers with a sharp edge, to cut off splinters
The tools I used.
The tools I used to make hotel rooms : )

Making side entrances:

First of all, I decided on which side I wanted to place the log in the garden. That way, I could determine where I needed to drill the holes. Wouldn’t do any good to drill holes on the side it would be placed on, would it? ; )

I also needed to see which side would be thick enough so I wouldn’t drill all the way through it. Bees need a tunnel with one side closed off, so I had to be careful. Luckily, the log was most stable when lying on a thinner side, so I could drill the holes in the thickest side of the log. There’s no way my drills would go through all the way there : )

I started with randomly drilling holes with the smallest wood drill bit. When I was satisfied with the amount of holes, I used the slightly bigger drill to widen 2/3rd of the holes. Starting off with the smallest bit and widen the holes makes it easier to to drill the bigger holes. Lastly I used the biggest bit to widen 1/3rd of the mid-sized holes. Needless to say, I ended up with holes of varying sizes ; )

The log after drilling holes
How it looked after drilling the holes

One thing I noticed when I was drilling the holes, was that the entrances weren’t very neat. You can see that on the picture above as well. To make sure the bees wouldn’t hurt themselves when entering or exiting, I wanted to clean that up.

Before (left) and after I tried to clean up the entrances with the end mill bit.

I used the end mill drill to widen the entrances and – hopefully – get rid of some splinters, but you can also use a slightly bigger wood drill. As you can see on the pic above it helped a bit, but not as much as I had hoped. To clean up the last splinters, I used clipped them off with the pliers. That helped : ) And that was it for the hotel rooms on the side of the log!

The finished side of the log
The finished bee tunnels

Creating even more nesting places:

I could leave it at that, but I still had the hole through the length of the log. Why wouldn’t I use that? We still had a pile of reed lying around. Perfect for bees to nestle in!

I clipped the reed to size so it would fit all through the log and crammed as many sticks in there as I could. As an added bonus, since I put them all the way through, each reed could house 2 bees! No space wasted : ) I just had to make sure the reed was opened on both sides.

After that, I just had to get it to it’s final resting place. I put it on bricks to elevate it so the bees have an easy time to fly in and out. I wonder when I’ll see the first bees live in there… : )

The final bee hotel. : )
The final product! : )

I think I’ll create some more of them when I’ve got the time. I quite liked the process and the final look. This one got a spot near the vegetable garden, but I think I want at least one near the orchard as well : )

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