Pollinators are a vital component of our ecosystems. Approximately 80 percent of crops used for human consumption require animals like bees, butterflies, and even bats to transport pollen from one plant to another in order to reproduce.http://www.popsci.com/
- a few scrap boards/planks
- a log or two
- Nails and Hammer
- Drill or Drill Press
- Some kind of Chop, Miter, Slide, or Circulating Saw to cut the boards. A good hand saw, if that’s all you have, will do.
- Sandpaper, if you want it to look nice
Step 1: Materials
For this project, you can pretty much use any chunk of wood you have lying around. Other than than that, you need a few flat boards, such as shingles, and some board to attach it to. I’m pretty sure the shingles don’t actually make the bees want to move in any more than without them, but they make the finished project look kind of cute.
I figure the best way to do this is to have your bee house attached to something solid such as a post or tree, although I have seen ones that are meant to hang from something, but that seems like it wouldn’t be so good in the wind. You can choose either way, but I go with attaching them to something solid with a backboard.
Step 2: Cutting Your Blocks to Size
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Since you can really get any deeper than what you drill bit can reach, that’s about how long the logs should be. Just eyeballing the first one, it pretty much just needs to be cut in half, same as the one to the right, the block to the left being pretty good size already.
Remember, safety first! Ear protection is a must when operating loud saws! Feel free to use eye protection as well.
I went ahead and cut the split log on the slide saw that I usually use, but the round log was too large a diameter, so I used my chop saw on it.
Now I have 5 pieces to choose from to start my bee house.
Step 3: Drilling the Holes
Now it’s time to drill the holes, which is half of the project in itself. An electric hand drill would work as well, but I found my drill press to be much more suitable. I drilled down as far as I could with the bit and my press, which was around 3-4 inches. The split log took a bit longer since it’s some kind of semi-hardwood, but I eventually got it done. For something this size, a minimum of 16 holes seems good.
Now, there are a few things I chose not to do here. The first, I did not make any kind of markings as to where I wanted the holes, I just drilled in a more or less organized fashion. The spacing is important, so I kept them far enough apart, but the overall layout doesn’t really matter to the bees nor to me. The second, I did not use any other size bit, only a 3/8 bit, so there might be some bees that might not be able to live here. I might use other bits in the future, but not this time.
I encourage everyone to do their own research on this, as I am only covering the simplest way possible to make a bee home.
Step 4: Fitting the Shingles
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Since this is supposed to resemble a small house, the shingles will be used for the ‘roof’.
First, I just stood them up about how they needed to be, and marked about how long I wanted them. After that, I went and cut them both on the slide saw, which I didn’t get a picture of. Next, you just nail them on real quick. I just used these little nails, four of them for each side.
The shingles were a bit to wide for the split log piece, so I had to chop them up a bit; I’m sure you can compensate for whatever for you use.
After you get the shingles marked, cut, and nailed on, you should have a block of would that hopefully now resembles a small house. Very enticing to those Mason bees that need homes.
Do your best not to put the nails into the holes you drilled.
Step 5: Attaching the Backboard
Next, I just laid the house on the board I planned to cut up for the backboard and once again, eyeballed about where to cut, and measured to the nearest inch. I marked it, and cut a few lengths to use. Attaching them is easy, just turn it over and pound a few nails in there. The little nails seemed good enough for this too, so I didn’t bother looking for longer ones. Again, try not to nail into the holes.
Bees Sometimes Sting Other Bees
Bees are notorious for their stings, but humans aren’t the only ones who experience this pain in the neck (or the arm, or the leg…). In protecting their hives from outsiders, some “guard bees” will actually stay by the entrance and sniff the bees that come in. If there’s a rogue bee from another hive trying to steal some nectar, the guard bee will bite and even sting the intruder.
There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drone.
The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.
Honey bees fly at 15 miles per hour.
Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
Honeybees are the only insect that produce food for humans.
Honeybees will usually travel approximately 3 miles from their hive.
Honeybees are the only bees that die after they sting.
Honeybees are responsible for pollinating approx. 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S.
Honeybees have five eyes, 3 small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front. They also have hair on their eyes!
Bees communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones (scents).
Honeybees never sleep!