Programming Idea - Bee Hotels

Bees may be some of the hardest workers, but so are Lindenhurst’s Summer Camps Campers!

A bee hotel is a great way to help your local bees and other pollinators! These shelters will benefit mostly mason bees, who are solitary, unlike the honey bee who lives in hives with other bees. They construct individual nests in hollow reeds or other plant stems, pre-existing cavities, or burrows found in dead wood.

Jessica DeCarlo from Lindenhurst Memorial Library hosted a Bee Hotel project for the Lindenhurst Public Schools Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camp. Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders got to work on making safe places for bees to rest and lay their eggs with materials provided by the library.  Jessica and her colleagues, Andrea and Charlotte, informed the campers of the importance of bees on Long Island as well as why these shelters are beneficial to solitary bees. Once the campers finish their projects, the Bee Hotels will be donated to local schools, parks, and gardens around the town of Lindenhurst. 

Supplies Needed: 

  • A plastic bottle or metal can (at least 6 inches long, 2 inches wide)
  • For hollow items, paper straws, rolled up paper, or explore outside for hollow, dried stems from the previous season
  • String or twine

How To:

  • If using a plastic bottle, cut your bottle to at least 6 inches long, open on both ends. Also cut your hollow materials to this length, the goal is to have everything snug, so that your materials stay in place.
  • If using reed or grass, cut so that each tube ends in a node and is solid. Otherwise plug one end of each tube with mud. If that part is not done and the end of the tube was left open, a bee would not use it.
  • Put as many tubes in the bottle as will fit, open end facing out towards you. Then use twigs to fill the spaces
  • Lastly, attach twine to hang it with.

Tips for placement:

  • The front of the shelter should have a south/southwest exposure where it will get the most sun in winter to keep bees warm. 
    • REMEMBER! Bees are cold-blooded and they need the warmth of the sun!
  • Choose a secure and peaceful place, not one that sways or is noisy and full of movement; areas protected from high winds.
  • Hang at eye level to keep them safe from critters and easy to check.
  • Avoid installing the bee house right next to a bird feeder or birdhouse.
  • Placed near your garden, fruit & nut trees or berry patches to get the most benefit of these pollinators
    • If you really want to be kind and help the bees, plant or encourage native plants in your yard to benefit the native bees

Sources

https://www.youthenergysquad.org/post/easy-diy-bee-hotel

https://nystateparks.blog/2020/07/07/the-wonderful-world-of-mason-bees/

https://cals.cornell.edu/pollinator-network/ny-bee-diversity

Close up image of bee hotel