Build a bug hotel to help native pollinators
Most gardeners have heard that honeybees are in trouble. Gardeners are planting lot of pollinator plants in hopes of helping them, which is great. Native bees are also struggling, and many are much better pollinators than the non-native European honeybee.
Here’s an easy project for gardeners of all ages and a great one for kids that will teach them about the importance of our native bees and help the insects out, too.
Native bees are solitary nesters, so they don’t live in a hive.
Get a cedar post (4-inch by 4-inch by 8-feet) from a lumber yard and cut it into about 2-feet lengths. Cut the top of each at an angle to shed water. You’ll also need a 1-inch by 6-inch cedar board that can be cut to size for the roof. Cedar is naturally rot resistant and should not be painted or stained.
The 4x4 is drilled with a variety of holes from a quarter inch up to three quarters of an inch. They don’t have to exactly lined up. I draw a line with a pencil along a straight edge and then just eyeball the distance between each hole. The varied size openings will be home to different pollinators.
Now attach the roof with a few wood screws and hang the house on a post out in the garden. Mine face northwest, but the siting is not critical.
Over the next few seasons, the holes will start to fill up with the insects that will use them to nest and lay their brood in. I put several up years ago and have seen many native insects inhabit the holes. Mine are hung on the posts that support a fence for the vegetable garden.
It’s fun to know that you’re helping nature, and that’s always a good lesson for gardeners and children alike.
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