This is my first attempt at a Bee B n B or Native Bee Hotel. It has been most interesting to read about the vast variety of native bees found in Australia. I never really took much notice of them as the ones we generally know are those of the stinging variety.
Different native bees have different nesting requirements. Building a Native Bee Hotel provides the space to provide suitable nesting sites for a wide variety of native bees. The top section of this structure will be filled with bamboo shoots which are ideal for Resin Bees and Leafcutters. Clay, which can be packed into old pipes or PVC pipe is good for Blue Banded Bees. Pithy stems such as Fennel can be used for Reed Bees.
This is how I constructed the Native Bee Hotel.
The structure is built from reclaimed pallet wood. Make sure you get pallets that are labelled HT which stands for Heat Treated. This means there are no chemicals in the wood that could affect the bees. I have found some pallets with no markings at all. I can only assume these are not treated at all. Apparently another type of treatment is Methyl Bromide and these pallets are labelled MB. I wouldn't be use these types of pallets.
Whilst size is something of personal preference, I have used the dimensions shown in the image above. I have used 25mm thick pallet wood for the entire structure except the backing boards which are a lot thinner. You will note that there are two boards in the base (B), making a total of 50mm. This has been done to provide extra strength to the structure. The base provides an internal depth of 190mm by using two boards. The native bees apparently like holes of between 3mm and 10mm that are between 100mm and 150mm deep. The depth of the hotel will provide adequate space for providing these types of nesting holes for the bees.
The sides, at 500mm high, have a 45 degree cut at the top to accommodate the roof sitting flat on the box. The roof is pitched at 45 degrees as well for simplicity. It is 285mm wide, using two boards, so as provide an overhang at the front.
Initially I wasn't going to put a back on the Bee Hotel. I was going to use the wall it would be eventually mounted on for that purpose. However after further reading I did decide to add backing boards. Normally, these would sit under the roof line, however as a late addition, I have simply attached them to the back. Next time I build one of these I will extend the roof width to accommodate the backing boards.
As mentioned, this is relatively new to us building these bee houses. If you want to learn more about Native Australian bees, then I can highly recommend the Aussie Bee site. It has some fantastic information.
Our bee house has now been completed and has been mounted with a French Cleat on the back of the shed wall facing east.