Help Save the Bees With a Bee Hotel
A Bee Hotel Is a Pollinator Habitat
A bee hotel, or bee house, is a habitat that provides nesting areas for beneficial insects. Bee hotels are sometimes called pollinator habitats. Most often, small holes, cavities, and crevices are provided as nesting areas. Solitary insects, like mason bees and leaf cutters, will prepare and lay their eggs in the nesting areas. After depositing their eggs, they will often seal the area with mud or other natural materials.
More often than not, the bees, wasps, and other insects that hatch out in the spring often use the nesting area where they hatched to make their own nest. This is very often the case, which can quickly fill up a bee hotel. For this reason, it is never a bad idea to have several bee hotels.
Why Do Bees Need a Hotel?
By now, just about everyone has heard about saving the bees. Bee hotels are an easy way to have a small part in helping. Solitary bees and other pollinators are losing some of their nesting habitats because of human activity. Land development by humans, as well as use of pesticides, has led to severe loss of habitat in some areas.
Bee hotels provide a safe nesting area for these displaced insects. Free from pesticides and, ideally, from disturbances that may upset the cycle of nesting insects. A properly placed bee hotel can help replace some of the habitat that might have already been lost.
Give the Bees a Helping Hand
Are you considering purchasing or building a bee hotel in the near future?
Common Bee Hotels
A popular design among bee hotels is to provide holes in wooden blocks, or small hollow tubes. Most people have probably seen those big bees that bore holes into the wooden parts of buildings, homes and porches. Well those are solitary bees, and what they are doing is nesting.
They use the little tunnels to lay their eggs inside, then they normally provide some type of food for the growing larva. When they finish preparing the eggs, they seal off the end of the tunnel with mud or organic material. An insect may prepare several nesting sites in one season.
Not Just Holes
While the most common bee hotel design usually involves some type of small tunnels, there are a few different options. There are many types of solitary insects out there, and they all have a different preference when it comes to nesting areas.
Some bee hotels feature nesting materials such as pine cones, hollow cane or bamboo, bricks, mini logs, mini firewood, or just about anything with small hollows or tunnels. There are even cardboard mason bee tubes available online.
Anyone can make a simple bee hotel with some mason bee tubes. All you really need are the tubes and a container to keep them dry and hold them in a horizontal position. Something like an old coffee can could work well.
Bee Hotel Purists
A pretty popular opinion exists that removable mason bee tubes are the only type of bee hotel that should be used. There are entire websites devoted to promoting this idea. It seems that these folks are mainly interested in harvesting mason bee cocoons.
Try not to be swayed or distracted by these purists. They are trying to accomplish a certain goal, and we should applaud them for their efforts. After all, the bees do need all the help they can get right now.
But for regular people who just want to do our part, installing a bee hotel makes it easy. There are many different pollinators out there other than mason bees. Those pollinators use holes and cracks of varying sizes to accomplish their egg laying.
Solitary pollinators and bees will use just about any small hole they can find to begin nesting work. This could be due to the fact that their natural habitat is being reduced. Most logical people would find no problem with providing a safe, usable habitat of any type.
Start Helping the Bees
For anyone wishing they could somehow contribute to helping save the bees, a bee hotel provides a great opportunity. Not only does it proved a safe pollinator habitat, it also doubles as a interesting conversation piece. There is no doubt that when friends notice a bee hotel in your garden, they will be intrigued at the very least.
Bee hotels also make unique gift ideas, especially for gardening enthusiasts and children. Watching as the little pollinators work diligently at their nesting never gets old, and they will often come back every year!