parallax background

Should Bee Hotels Be Built?

01/03/2018
Toby Learns a lesson Cover
Toby Learns A lesson
09/02/2018
Just do it cover for leo donaldson website
Just Do It! You Can’ Publish Your Own Book
02/03/2018
W hat is the latest craze to hit the gardening world: Insect or Bee Hotels? Every garden centre that you visit will have some sort of oversized bird houses that look like something out of a Sci-fi movie. Only these are not bird nesting boxes at all – they are Insect Hotels that are aimed at the environmentally aware. Who among us would not want to save the Insects of this planet? Especially the pollinators that we rely on to pollinate our vegetables and fruit. Due to social media postings we are all aware of the number of Bees and the like that have dropped drastically over the past few years. Unfortunately, Bee or Insect Hotels have been flaunted as the urban solution to this rising problem. In fact, Insect Hotels have become more and more popular every day, to the point where things are getting a bit out of hand. There are currently countless Step by Step tutorials along with numerous You Tube Videos showing how one can create not only a Bee or Insect Home but, Multi-storey Insect Condominiums that are designed to house a Zoo including Frogs, Spiders, Snails, Millipedes and all other manner of creepy crawlies.

Bee Hotel or Little House of Horrors?


At first glimpse, these Insect Hotels or Condominiums appear to be sheer genius and the ultimate solution for the world’s current, growing Insect catastrophe. We should therefore be running off to the nearest shops to purchase glue guns, wooden planks, pine cones and flower pots. But…If you stop for a second, take a step back, dig a little deeper, you will find that there is a dark side to these creepy crawly cities. Among the collection of websites and blogs that provide instructions on how you can go about constructing your very own Insect Hotel, you will find The Entomologist Lounge. This website is for the serious Entomologists (Wiki: a person who studies or is an expert in the branch of Zoology concerned with Insects.) and Insect enthusiasts among us – draw a very different picture of Insect or Bee Hotels. The Entomologist Lounge website provides a stark warning to “would be” builders, that poorly designed Bee Hotels can increase the risk of disease and even parasitism (Wiki: the practice of living as a parasite on or with another animal or organism.). This can threaten the very lives of the creatures that they were originally designed to save, due to the unnatural community living, that these condominiums create. In nature we find that Insects and Solitary Bees have habitats that occur in small separate nests. The densely populated Insect Hotels make for an environment where the inhabitants are susceptible to parasitism which can spread very quickly if it is not managed and or maintained. Moisture and condensation can get trapped inside the Hotel – creating a breeding ground for mould – bringing with it a host of diseases for the Insects we are actually trying to save.

If Not Hotels, What Else Can Be Done?


While the sometimes-towering condominiums are clearly not the answer – the concept to provide a suitable environment for Bees and Insects to thrive – is spot on. Truth be told, the good news is, that there are alternatives to building a colossal Insect Hotel which can be highly effective. This is especially true in relatively natural urban environments.

Separate Sanctuaries – We should stop trying to find one solution to save all, but rather to build separate environments, each specific to each creature’s needs. If one considers that Bee houses for instance, need to be in full sun and dry, whereas Toads on the other hand need humid and partial shade.
Build Sustainable Natural Environments – When planning your garden, plant beneficial plants that provide nectar. This is the most simple and effective way in which you can help to save out pollinators. TIP: – Create a patch in your garden, plant some Wildflowers. These are sometimes seen as weeds, but you have no idea how much our pollinators love them as their natural source of food.
Put The Clippers And Pruning Shears Down – We hardly give it a second thought when we clean up our gardens after winter for spring. We don’t realise that we are removing larvae and pupae on the plants that we trim and hack back. If you allow your garden to be, and you are careful to not over clean, you will be providing by far more suitable shelter for these beneficial creepy crawlies than any fancy Insect Hotel you can make.
Pesticides, Herbicides And Fungicides – These should be a very last resort as they can severely harm beneficial organisms (Wiki: In agriculture and gardening, a beneficial organismis any organism that benefits the growing process,) in your garden thereby changing the balance in the ecosystem. Do some research, there are quite literally tons of alternatives out there to make use of instead. Your garden will love you for it.

Build Your Own And Build It Right


Keeping with the tradition of Tobybooks.com in where we like to promote development in a fun way for any child. We have created this short tutorial to show you and your child how you can make your very own Bee Hotel – let’s get started. When deciding to build your own Bee Hotel it is important for you to source your own material. This will ensure that you have peace of mind in the knowing that your Insect or Bee Hotel is made from all-natural materials that does not contain chemicals like varnish and wood that has been treated with a protectant to repel Insects. We suggest you make use of recycled or natural materials from your very own garden.

What You Will Need

A clean and empty plastic bottle ( a two-litre size is best) Scissors (depending on the age of your child you might want to assist with the cutting) Long strand of natural string or wool Hollow bamboo canes to put into the Hotel (These can be purchased at most Garden Centres)

Create The Compartment For The Bamboo

Create The Compartment For The Bamboo

To create the Hotel’s compartment, measure and cut the bottom and top off the bottle making a cylinder.
Measuring-and-marking
Cutting on the marks of the bottle
Measuring-the-Bamboo before cutting to length
Cutting-the-bottom-end

Prepare For Hanging

Prepare For Hanging

To hang the Bee Hotel, thread the string or wool through the cylinder. Tie the ends of the string or wool in a knot at the top so that it can hang against a wall.

Fill The Bee Hotel

Fill The Bee Hotel

Measure the Bamboo to the same length as the plastic bottle tube and cut to those lengths until there are enough to fill the tube. Place the Bamboo into the plastic bottle cylinder until they are tightly packed together and cannot fall out.
Tightly-packed bamboo in bottle

Install It Correctly

Install It Correctly

Bee hotel completed
Bee Hotels need to be positioned in full sun, facing North East or North. It has to be hung at least a metre off the ground. Make sure there is no vegetation obscuring the entrances to the Bamboo tunnels. It must also be fixed securely to prevent swinging in the wind.

Maintenance And Cleaning

Maintenance And Cleaning

This is the most overlooked part of having a Bee or Insect Hotel. As mentioned earlier, taking care of Insect Hotel is just as important as building one. For example, Bee Hotels should be inspected at the end of summer to remove and clean dead cells. This will prevent mould and mites that would multiply on the dead Bees or larvae. Some experts recommend that one should bring the occupied Insect Hotel into a cool dry area such as a garden shed during winter to protect the wintering inhabitants from the elements. Without appropriate maintenance and clean-up, a once-occupied Insect or Bee Hotel may not attract new visitors for the next season.

Replace When It Is Time

Replace When It Is Time

Insect and Bee Hotels can degrade naturally after two or more years due to the material used being untreated. Redoing the Bee Hotel every two years will help to avoid build-up of mould, mites and parasites over time. Be sure to recycle the plastic tube as that should still be fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *