How to - Wildlife

Build a bee box

Margriet Dogterom
Photography by
Margriet Dogterom (bee box)

Give nature a helping hand by making a home for mason bees in your garden

What you need for the box
  • 12 galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • 1 screw and screwdriver
  • 1 hook
  • Sandpaper
  • 5 pieces of wood about 1 cm thick cut into the following sizes:
    Left top, 12.5 x 21 cm
    Right top, 14 x 21 cm
    Left bottom, 9.5 x 19 cm
    Right bottom, 11 x 19 cm
    Back, 9.5 x 9 cm

For the nesting tubes

  • Newspaper
  • Pencil or 5/16" dowel
  • Adhesive tape

How to make the box
  • Nail sides and top together with 2 nails in each side; secure back with 4 nails.
  •  Screw hook onto top part of back of bee box and then smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.

How to make the nesting straws
(Make 50 to 60 paper straws)
  • Cut newspaper into 15-centimetre-long strips, 60 centimetres wide with an inside diameter of about 7.5 millimetres.
  • Using a pencil (or dowel), roll the pieces into cylinders. Secure with tape. Fold over one tip of the straw so no light can be seen through it.
  • Place straws in the bee box and hang on the east side of a shed or house (this allows the bees to get up with the rising sun and start their pollination early in the day), about 1.5 metres high.

Bees to keep

Common bees for spring pollination:
Mason bees
Honeybees (shown above)

Common bees for summer pollination:
Leaf cutter bees
Small Osmia species, such as O. texana

Read more in How to and Wildlife

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