DIY: Build a bee house

When we think of bees, we tend to assume that all of them live in beehives with other bees. But that is not true of solitary bees, who are also important pollinators in South Africa. They are called ‘solitary’ because the female bee builds and lives in her nest alone – no queen or hive for her.

To help these bees, Kobus Kleinhans from Nifty Zebra shares this easy step-by-step guide on how to make a bee house for solitary bees.


What you’ll need

  • 1 piece of 12 x 3 x 12cm South African wood
  • Drill
  • 4mm, 6mm and 8mm drill bits
  • Rope
  • Craft paint (environmentally friendly and lead-free)
  • Decorations
  • Wooden glue


Building the bee house

Step 1 Cut the wooden block into any shape you want. We chose the shape of a house, but it can be any size or shape.

Step 2 Drill four holes in a line with the 8mm drill bit, but don’t drill all the way through the wood – only ¾ of the way through.

Step 3 Repeat step 2, but with the 6mm drill bit, and drill two lines, just above the first line. Leave about 1cm between the rows.

Step 4 Drill two more lines with the 4mm drill bit.

Step 5 At the top and in the centre, drill a hole through the wood. This is for the rope to go through.

Step 6 Thread the rope through the wood and tie it securely at the top.

Step 7 Now, paint and decorate the bee house as you please, using bee-friendly paint and glue.

Once the paint and glue are dry, you can hang your bee house approximately 1m above the ground, in a place where the bees will have a clear flight path to the bee house.


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