DIY Bee Hotel Tutorial

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Part of my goal in parenting is to teach my kids to be good stewards of our Earth. We do it in small ways such as limiting our trash by recycling and donating instead; using an organic company to treat our lawn; and teaching them about our environment. Over the weekend that included trips to the zoo and a local organic farm. There were a number of similarities between the two including a little lesson in bees.

Simple Upcycled DIY Bee Hotel Tutorial - perfect for solitary pollinators

It’s scary news that there are bees on the endangered species list. We need these special creatures to help with pollination so that we can have fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy. At the zoo we stopped to learn more about the honey bees at a special section devoted just to them where we even got to witness a few in action in their hive.

Honey Bees in Hive

At the farm, we learned about the various animals the owners raise and the produce they grow. The farmer explained to us how the plants grow from seeds and eventually flower to create the fruits and vegetables we enjoy eating. They need bees to assist in pollination for this process to be successful.

While we didn’t get to see the hives, he explained that he pays a beekeeper to supply him with some. The bees also produce honey that the farm is able to sell so the bees share a very important role on his organic farm as both a field worker and a producer of a crop.

Organic Farm Planting Vegetables

Both days I packed bottles of Honest® Tea for my husband & I to enjoy. It was a nice, cool and refreshing beverage on some rather hot North Carolina spring days. After the visit to the organic farm, I even further appreciated that Honest® Tea is USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified.

Honest® Tea Peach Ginger

I found the bottles on an end cap in the Nature’s Market organic section at my local Kroger. Brewed with real tea leaves, it tastes similar to what we brew for ourselves only in an assortment of fun flavors including the new unsweetened Peach Ginger.

Honest® Tea at Kroger

After learning about the bees, we discussed ways we could help as a family. While we aren’t prepared to own a beehive, we knew there were other things we could do such as provide a bit of shelter for solitary bees. These bees are just as important in helping with pollination and, since they don’t have hives, occasionally need a spot to call “home” whether for a temporary visit to get out of the rain or to stay more permanently while working in our yard.

Be sure to grab your digital coupon for .25 off 1 bottle. It can be used up to 5 times in one transaction at Kroger and all Kroger divisions. End 4/22/17.

Best of all, thanks to my shopping trip, we had plastic bottles and a paper grocery bag to get us started on our project. Ready to give the pollinators in your yard a little help? Here’s how to create your own Bee Hotel …

Supplies

  • Empty Honest® Tea bottle (rinsed out and completely dry)
  • Paper Kroger bags
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • String or twine
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Supplies

Instructions

Step 1 Rinse out your plastic drink bottle and let it fully dry. Remove the label.

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Remove Bottle Label

Step 2 Carefully cut off the top portion of the bottle using a utility knife. ** Adults only **

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Cut Bottle

Step 3 Cut approximately (30) 2″ x 5.5″ rectangles* from your paper grocery bag. These don’t have to be perfect. I just quickly used a ruler to measure and draw some. Then I cut them out with scissors.Bee Hotel Tutorial: Cut Paper Rectangles

*Note: check that 5.5″ will fit into your bottle without sticking out. We cut 6 strips at 5″ long to account for the raised section in the center of the bottle.

Step 4 Roll each piece of paper around a pencil to create a “straw” shape. Remove from pencil. If you want your “straw” a bit tighter, re-roll the now curved piece using your fingers.

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Roll Paper Straws

You can use a small bit of tape of glue to secure at the midpoint. The “straws” do not need to all be the same diameter. Have fun mixing it up!

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Paper Straws

Step 5 Insert each of your paper bag “straws” into the bottle until the space is completely filled.

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Add Paper Straws

Step 6 Add a string or twine to hang your bottle with. The Honest® Tea bottles have groves in them that are perfect for securing your string in place.

Step 7 Hang in a sunny spot in your yard and wait for your winged guests to arrive!

Bee Hotel Tutorial: Hanging

Remember: this is not a honey bee hive. It’s intention is for solitary bees and ladybugs. You won’t get honey from this. 😉

Find more craft and recipe fun using Honest® Tea here.



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23 comments on “DIY Bee Hotel Tutorial

  1. Oh how cute!! Hopefully someday they'll invent "plastic" bottles that disintegrate on their own but until then it's always nice to see diys like this that help our wildlife and the Earth! :) Thank you for sharing!
    • Yes, that would be a great thing! When we don't reuse our bottles we either rinse them and toss into our recycling bin for the City to pick up; or add them to a donation box for a local craft thrift store so they can be reused by others.
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  4. The honey bee is not on the endangered species list; seven native Hawai'ian bees are. ---- beekeeper and science educator
  5. I've seen some of these in other posts too, great idea. Would paper or plastic straws work or are they too narrow? I would think paper would be best.
    • I have been reading lots about this. 4 things I have read that I would add: 1) paint or cover it so it is dark, the bees like it dark 2) bend the end of the paper closed, the bees like an ending to the tube 3) attach the 'house' to something solid so it doesn't swing in the breeze 4) put it so it is facing the sunrise, they like the morning warmth NO on plastic straws, keeps too much moisture Paper tubes inside a heavier cardboard tube would work - (wasps can poke thru the paper-only tubes and kill the beneficial bee's larva)
    • No, there will not be honey. These are not honey bee hives. These are simply a spot for solitary pollinators to seek shelter. You might even find ladybugs taking up residence. At the end of the summer, check for any sealed ends that might indicate a nest and, if so, let be for a while longer. Otherwise, clear out and start fresh with new paper "straws", or a natural alternative like bamboo, next spring.
  6. Looks like a cool thing to try! My son had lots oh bee hives here until he became a Marine. I'd suggest you put it off to the side of you active yard. You don't want to be in a "Bee-Line!"
  7. I made one with my granddaughter but we used the cardboard pipes that came with the dry cleaners hangers for pants.
  8. I made one, but am concerned about the Elmer glue used to seal each tube. I don't want to poison them. The glue cleans up with water, so what happens if it gets wet or damp, will they be at risk?

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