By General Crafts Contributor Michelle
Gentle, non-stinging Mason bees are a bit smaller than a honeybee, and are great pollinators for your garden. Each one visits as many as 1000 blooms per day — 20 times as many as a honeybee! Hang your bee hotel where it will get morning sun and attract mason bees. The female bees will lay their eggs in the tubes. This is a great project to get the whole family involved in creating, and a fun project for kids to observe in the summer months.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
- A large tin cam, or small metal coffee can.
- Scotch Kraft Postal Wrapping Paper 30 in. x 15 ft roll
- Toilet paper tubes
- Glue stick
- Acrylic craft paint
- Darice 2-Ply Jute Cord 133 yd. Natural
To begin, we’re going to use our drill to attach the can to the board with screws. I used a scrap of old fence board. We’ll use this board to help us mount our bee house when we’re finished, so make sure it’s the right size to fit wherever your finished hotel will hang.
Next, stuff your can with as many toilet paper tubes as will fit together snugly–mine held four. These tubes will help our small bee tubes to fit more securely.
Using your yardstick, and pencil, mark, and cut strips of brown paper that are as wide as your can is deep. My can is 4-inches deep, so my strips are 4-inches wide, by the length of my piece of paper.
Now, divide the strip into pieces 2-inches wide.
Cut your strip at the 2-inch marks into rectangles. So, my rectangles are 2”x4”.
Apply glue along one long edge of your rectangle.
Using your pencil, roll the strip into a tight tube.
Hold, and rub the seam until it is stuck, then slide the tube off of the pencil. Insert the tube into the can.
Make enough tubes to tightly fill your can.
Use your acrylic paints to decorate your bee hotel, as desired.
Wrap the can with jute twine for extra embellishment.
Mount your bee house out of the elements, away from sprinklers–somewhere sheltered, away from being joslted by the wind, like under the eaves of a shed, or the house is ideal. You can also use a board to fashion a roof for your house, if you wish to hang it in a more unprotected location. Make sure to hang it where it will get morning sun, and is near to where you want the bees to do their pollinating. Read more online to find out how to better care for your established mason bee hotel in the winter months. Have fun watching for bees, look for them sealing off the tubes.