Make a bee home or café

a bee home

Why help bees?

Pollination is the number one reason. As they move from flower to flower, they transfer pollen around and play a vital role in enabling plants to set seed and fruit.

You'll be helping Britain's bumblebees to survive if you put out a home for them.

Different homes for different bees

bumblebee on flower

Bumblebees need a box the same size as a small bird box. It should have two rooms: one filled with wood shavings for the queen to breed in, the other an empty compartment where the rest of the bees live.

Bumblebees may also nest in tussocks of grass or moss. If you can, leave a grassy bank at the edge of your garden and let the grass grow. Plant clover and catmint to encourage them into your garden.

Red mason bees need a box filled with hollow pipes, such as cut lengths of bamboo. They lay their eggs one at a time with a supply of pollen or nectar and a plug of mud between them.

Mason bees use holes in old wood or thick stems for nesting, so hogweed and brambles make good homes for them.

A wood pile will make a safe home for various bees and other invertebrates. Find out how to make a wood pile.

Some bees and other insects might make themselves comfortable in your garden shed for the winter while they hibernate.

Siting your bee home or café

solitary bee home

Bees like warmth and shelter, so fix their new abode in a south-facing spot but not in direct sunlight.

Bees like to have a food supply on their doorstep. If you don't have a bee cafe, try putting their box in a place they’ll be foraging for food, such as in a flower bed, near a wall with a plant growing up it, or under a hedge. You might even find a family of mice nesting in your bee box – and if you do, leave their nesting materials in place as the bees will make use of it next year.

When you attach a bee box, make sure to point the entrance downwards so that rain doesn't get in.

Mason bees like to be off the ground, so fix their box to a tree or post. They're happy in direct sunlight too, unlike bumblebees.

Related downloads

Download Pdf'Make a Bumblebee Home' poster - 1.1MB

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