Garden Projects: Bee House

When I made the new raised beds, I was left with a short (16″) segment of 4×4 left over. Not wanting it to go to waste, I decided to make a solitary bee house out of it. I’ve wanted one of these for a while, and this was my chance to have one for free out of only materials that would otherwise go to waste.

My new bee house, affixed to the side of the compost bin

A master craftsman I am not, but I don’t think the bees will mind, do you?

Here is how I made the house.

  1. Used a chop saw to angle one end of the 4×4 45 degrees.
  2. Found a scrap piece of 4″ wide board and cut one end at a 45 degree angle. This allows the roof and the back of the house to line up flush.
  3. Drilled holes in for the bees. Different types of solitary bees will use different sized holes ranging from 1/8″ to 1/2″. Holes 1/4″ and smaller can be made ~4″ deep. Holes over 1/4″ should be 6″ deep. Since my wood was only 4″ deep, I went with all 1/4″ holes, all approximately 4″ deep. By angling the holes upward slightly I was able to make them longer than I could have if they had been perpendicular to the ground and also ensure that when it rains the end of the tunnel stays dry for the bee.
  4. Screwed the roof onto the top of the house.
  5. Screwed the house into the side of the compost bin. You could really affix it to any sort of post or fence.

It isn’t perfect. I had some ripping when I drilled the holes. I’d like to try again and try to do better. Maybe some day soon I’ll find myself with another scrap of wood that looks like it would make a good hotel and will try again.

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