Posted by: buzzybeegirl | August 9, 2008

Building Bee Condos

I know how much you all LOVE native bees. They do so much for us. So I was thinking…”How can we give back to the native bee community and help increase their numbers in our area?” We can build homes for them!!
Building a native bee nest and putting it up around your home can help the bees by providing a nest for them to put their offspring (babies) in AND it can be cool to watch them. I know how excited you all must be, so I will get down to making this home happen. By the way, this can also be a cool projects for kids!

The materials you will need are a 4×4 wood (untreated) block. You can buy this at places like Home Depot or other places that sell lumber. If you buy a long piece, cut it into several 6-8 inch pieces so you have a 4x4x8 inch block. Cut an angle at the top of the block because you will be putting a small roof on your bee house. You can use a thinner piece of wood for the roof. Nail the roof on the top of the block making sure that the roof is long enough to protect the nest from rain and sun.
To make the actual cavities you will need a drill and various drill bit sizes. You can either use the same hole size for the entire block or you can use several different hole sizes to get different bees nesting in the same block. I tend to go for the second choice. You can use 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 3/8″ hole sizes. Take your pick.

Drill holes as shown in the picture below. The holes are 3 inches deep and they do not have to be in a straight line. You can drill your own pattern if you would like.

picture from University of Nebrasks Cooperative Extension

picture from University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension

You can also drill a hole at the back of the box to create a hanger. The best place to hang the bee nest is near flowers or trees. Just nail it about 3-5 feet above the ground. I like to have it about 5 feet above the ground so I can see if the holes are being used.
You can find more sites that show you how to build these nests here .

Let me know if you build one!

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Responses

  1. Hey, that’s cool! I might just do that (outside the fence)!

  2. Let me know how it goes or if you need any more advice. Thanks for helping the bees!

  3. I’m curious though. If the bees use this to set up a nursery, what about the usual activity that occurs in my back yard (mowing, weeding, dogs, etc.)? Will that disturb them enough that I/we might be attacked?

  4. Nope. These nests will only be used by solitary bees and they don’t attack. The only time they will want to sting you or your dogs is if you try holding them, but why would anyone want to do that?

    That is the cool thing about solitary bees…they are so mellow.

  5. Oh I don’t know….I think having a bee-friend that you could pet would be way cool!

  6. bumblebees are fuzzy, but they may need MUCH training

  7. […] – Give them a home – Growing shrubs and grasses provide shelter, but you can go a step further and build a Bee Condo. […]

  8. Is this effective in all of the lower 48 states?

    What time of year would the bees be looking for a new home, or do you suggest getting the bees from a supplier?

    If they are “solitary” how many of the holes should a person expect to see used?

  9. […] It’s nothing fancy people. The bees don’t need the bling-bling, a doorman, or room service. It’s just a piece of wood with different sized holes, attached to a tree. For more info on how to make one click here. […]

  10. Do you have any suggestions for bumblebee homes? I’ve read that they only like abandoned mouse holes.

    • Hi Jennifer. You can actually build bumblebee homes. I will find some sites or papers with directions and e-mail them to you.

  11. Hi
    I live in the middle of a city of 3 million people. I have an apartment, but there are lots of trees and flowers around. Would it be beneficial if I got a bee condo?


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