Unlike birds, bees don’t need you to get out your hammer and saw and spend an afternoon in the shed. Bee hotels are much easier to make than bird houses. Native Australian bees are mostly solitary and build their nests in existing environments like hollow logs, holes in trees, burrows in the ground and hollows in dead plants. They will even set up house in cracks in building walls.
Before you construct your bee hotel, you should consider the best location. Protection from the elements is important – bees are unlikely to spend the whole day in searing sun or being pelted by wind and rain. They will naturally seek a sheltered position so find a suitable spot in your garden before you get started. Although bees naturally nest in low areas, it’s a good idea to elevate your hotel at least one metre off the ground but not too high – between knee and eye level is a good guide.
The best hotels are close to bars, restaurants and natural attractions and bee hotels are no exception. They will need a food source within reasonable flying distance, so planting a variety of pollen-rich plants that flower at different times of the year is a good start. A water source and a wild area that resembles natural bush, with leaf litter, twigs and rotting material will also make the bees feel right at home
For all native wildlife, a pesticide free environment means their food sources are healthy and they can give their young the best chance for survival. Bees will instinctively avoid gardens with chemicals in the soil and on plants, so your hotel may not be so popular if you haven’t tried organic methods instead.
Build a Butterfly Box
Encourage butterflies in your garden by including lots of nectar-giving flowering plants, muddy puddles for them to drink from, and somewhere to shelter.
This lovely Butterfly Box makes a graceful addition to any garden. Using a few tools and some untreated wood, it’s easy to build with the help of an adult.