Build a Native Bee Habitat from Reclaimed Wood

This tutorial was part of Garden Week at Crafting a Green World. We teamed up with some of our favorite DIY bloggers to talk about all things gardening!

We need bees. Native bees and other native pollinators pollinate a huge portion of the food that we eat. Unfortunately, pesticide overuse and habitat destruction are both contributing big-time to something called colony collapse disorder. Native bees and other pollinators are disappearing at an alarming rate, and this simple native bee habitat can help make a difference!

Just nestle this native bee habitat in your yard, making sure that the holes face east or southeast. You want the front to get some morning sun, and you also want to choose a spot that’s semi-protected from weather. Build just one native bee habitat, or nestle a few around your backyard to invite those beneficial insects into your garden.

A Bee-Friendly Garden

This native bee habitat is the first step toward creating a bee-friendly garden. Your bees need a safe place to nest, and there are two other ways that you can make your backyard a bee haven:

1. Avoid pesticides. Pesticides don’t just kill the insects that they’re targeting. They harm native bees and other beneficial insects too. Instead of spraying chemicals, check out this article on finding a way to protect bees and have a thriving garden.

2. Plant pollinator-friendly plants. Bees love certain types of plants, and filling your garden with bee-friendly flora makes it a happy place! Not sure where to start? Try this list of bee-friendly plants!

Native Bee Habitat

Build a Native Bee Habitat

This native bee habitat is something I ran across at the Georgia Organics Conference, and it really stuck with me! When I was trying to decide on some garden-related crafts to do this week, I knew that I wanted to try this! The instructions for this habitat come from an awesome pro-bee group, The Xerces Society. You can see the original pdf with the instructions for this native bee habitat and some other ideas to attract those beneficial pollinators!

Materials

  • leftover scrap wood – Make sure you use untreated wood, and you want something that’s at least 2″X5″X8″
  • drill and wood drill bits – The Xerces document gives a range of sizes, from 3/32″ to 3/8″. I found that a 3/16″ drill bit worked well.

Directions

1. Decide which part of the wood is going to be the front of your native bee habitat. That’s where you’ll drill your holes. You want holes that go in 3-4″ deep if you’re using a drill bit that’s less than 1/4″ in diameter. For holes more than 1/4″ wide, you want to go 5-6″ deep.

2. Get drilling! Space your holes by at least 3/4″ apart. Since I had a narrow block of wood, I just did one row of holes, and I staggered them a bit, because I liked the look of it.

3. You’re almost done! Turn your bee habitat over, so the holes face the ground, and tap out any wood shavings from inside, so your bees will have nice, spacious homes.

4. Nestle your bee habitat in your backyard! Choose a place where the holes can face south or southeast, so they get morning sun. You also want to make sure they location is somewhat sheltered from severe weather.

70 comments

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Robert O.
Robert O2 years ago

Thank you.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson2 years ago

Definitely make sure the wood you use is untreated!

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

thanks

Sam Dyson
Sam Dyson2 years ago

Great idea...and a grat addition to the garden. I think even I can manage this! Cheers

Kathryn M.
Kathryn M2 years ago

This is a good idea! A little easier than making the little bee houses with bamboo cuttings.

Shanti S.
S S2 years ago

thank you.

Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski2 years ago

Thanks for sharing!!

Clare M.
Clare M2 years ago

I have just read the attached PDF, I may try to make a Bumble Bee box too :-)

Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.