A home for bees

How to build a home for bees

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, May 16

How to build a home for bees

Bee on a flowerPeople often question why we should help bees. The reason for this is as they move from flower to flower they pollinate plants and trees.

Different types of bees need different homes. Bumblebees need a home the size of small bird box, with two rooms. One room is for the queen bee to breed in and should be filled with wood shavings and the other left empty for the rest of the bees. As they also like to nest in grassy or mossy tussocks try to leave a grassy bank at the edge of your garden for them and plant catmint or clover to encourage them.

Mason bees use holes in old wood or thick stems while Red mason bees need a box filled with hollow pipes as they lay their eggs one at a time, leave a supply of pollen or nectar and put a plug of mud between each one.

Bees like warmth spot to place their house in a south facing spot (but not direct sunlight). Try to put it near a flower bed or under a hedge. If you attach it to a tree make sure the entrance faces downwards so the rain doesn’t get in.

Make a bee post

A bee postDrill a variety of holes in a piece of untreated timber making sure that they are no more than 10mm diameter. Smooth the edges to remove any splinters as this will deter the bees. Fix to an untreated fence post as new fence posts are unsuitable.

Make sure a small sloping roof is fitted and always bring in to a shed from autumn as if left outside in winter they can become saturated and mean high mortality for bee larvae from fungus and old. 

Replace every one to two years as bees like clean tunnels and it also reduces the risk of parasites and disease.


Paul has his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks and Spencers.

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