- Mason bees are beneficial to gardens and flowers. Unlike other types of bees, mason bees do not live in hives. Instead, they set up homes next door to one another in small holes in wood or other materials. Make a simple home to attract these hardworking pollinators with our easy DIY project (no special tools needed!) that can be completed in an afternoon, then watch your garden spring to life.
Empty toilet paper rolls, enough to fill your chosen container
Paint and paintbrush (optional)Tip: Try using a flowerpot, wooden birdhouse, empty coffee can or oatmeal canister.
Tip: Butcher paper, untreated parchment or paper bags will work perfectly for this project.
- Prepare the Container. Thoroughly clean it, inside and out. If using an empty coffee can or similar, remove the lid but leave the bottom intact. If using a flowerpot, cover the drainage hole with paper and tape.
Tip: Now is also the time to paint the exterior of your bee house if desired — mason bees are drawn to bright colours, so choose something bold.
- Make Nesting Tubes. Create a nesting tube by rolling a sheet of brown paper snugly around a pencil to make a sturdy tube. Secure with a few pieces of tape, and gently slide off the pencil. Close one end of the tube by covering it with tape. Eyeball the size of your container to get an idea of how many nesting tubes you’ll need.
Tip: If you’re short on time, nesting tubes can be purchased ready-made at your local hardware or gardening supply store.
- Assemble the Bee House. Place each nesting tube inside a toilet paper roll with all open ends facing the same way until it’s full. Trim tubes so they are flush with the end of the toilet paper roll, then place the rolls inside your container with open ends of tubes facing out. Keep adding toilet paper rolls until the container is full.
Tip: Fill in gaps between the toilet paper rolls with small handfuls of peat moss (use your pencil to pack it in small spots). Moss helps insulate the bee house, providing a comfortable environment for the bees.
- Find the Right Site. Choose a south-facing spot in your yard that will be protected from rain, and hang it about eye level. Trees and fence posts are natural choices if available.
Safety Tip: It’s important to keep children away from the bee house, so place it far away from favourite play areas. Talk with your kids about how to be safe around bees, and set a good example by exercising caution yourself.
- Encourage mason bees to visit. Once you have built and installed the house, it’s natural to want bees to move in right away! Encourage them to visit your yard with these tips:
- Set up more than one mason bee house in different locations.
- Have plenty of flowering plants growing nearby to provide the bees with nectar and pollen.
- Mason bees like to add bits of mud to their nesting tubes, so keep a small dish of mud or clay nearby.
- If you notice birds pecking at the bee house, cover the entrance with chicken wire.
- Create a bee bath by setting stones in a shallow dish of water near the bee house.