Making a Mason Bee House
There are more than 3,500 species of native bees in North America, many do not sting or make honey. But they do have the important task of pollinating crops and gardens. So it’s important to encourage and protect them in your backyard. To create a safe spot for them to nest, you can build a bee house with these simple materials.
- drill bits (1/16, 3/8, 5/16″)
- 4x4x12” Wood block untreated with 45 degree angled cut on one end
- sandpaper (60 grade)
- cedar shingle
- finishing nails
- picture hardware (D rings are ideal)
- heavy gauge hanging wire 12”
1. Start with a piece of untreated wood, 4x4x12 inches with one end cut at a 45 degree angle. Drill a variety of holes 1/16 inch to 3/8 inch across the front side. (The front side is at the base of the angle.) Drill the holes 3 to 5 inches deep, do not drill all the way through the wood. The variety of holes in different diameters will attract a variety of bees to your bee house.
2. With sandpaper (60 grade works best) smooth down the entrances to the holes thoroughly so there are no sharp splinters, as these will put the bees off.
3. Attach a cedar shingle (or any piece of recycled untreated wood) to the top of the block with finishing nails, this will serve as the roof. The roof should overhang the holes on the front of the wood block and will protect the bees from midday sun and rain.
4. On the backside attach picture hardware. Use a piece of heavy gauge picture wire (12”) and tie it to the D rings.
Now you can attach the bee house to a fence, house, garage — anywhere in your garden close to flowers. Make sure the bee house is out of direct sun and at least 3 feet from the ground. Wait and see how quickly the holes fill with native bees ready to pollinate your garden’s flowers and vegetables guaranteeing you a great harvest.