Craftivism Summer Nature Crafts

Published on June 3rd, 2016 | by Julie Finn

0

How to Make a Hanging Mason Bee House

Help a bee out, why don’t you, by building your very own mason bee house?

Help a bee out, why don't you, by building your very own mason bee house?

If you don’t know much about native bees, then you might have heard that mason bees are a nuisance. They burrow holes in your house for their nests, people might say. You should poison them because they’re pests, people might tell you.

Of course, you know better than that! Mason bees are part of our native bee population, and they’re valuable pollinators, especially for fruit trees. They rarely sting, and they never swarm. If they do nest in a crack in your eaves, it’s because our urban habitat doesn’t provide enough naturally-occurring nesting spots for these vulnerable creatures.

Help a bee out, why don’t you, by building your very own mason bee house?

You can build a scrap wood mason bee house here, but in this tutorial, I’ll show you how my entire Girl Scout troop and I built hanging mason bee houses out of fallen wood. It’s a great afternoon project that can really improve the quality of your neighborhood’s native wildlife population.

Hanging Mason Bee House

You will need:

fallen wood. The holes that you’ll drill will be at least 6″ deep, and the house needs an overhanging roof, so a piece of wood about 8″ deep ought to do it.

saw. I used a chainsaw, because I’m a badass, but a handsaw would also work.

drill and drill bits. You do have to be a little bit picky about your drill bit here. The ideal dimensions for the holes that you’ll be drilling are 5/16″ x 6″. Now, 5/16″ drill bits don’t always come in your standard drill set, and 6″ long drill bits definitely don’t, so you may have to ask around for one to borrow, or make the investment if you plan to make mason bee nests every year. Because a paddle drill bit is easier for kids to use, I gave the kids in my Girl Scout troop a 5/16″ x 3″ spade drill bit to use, then came in after them with a regular 5/16″ x 12″ bit.

materials for hanging. Use what you’ve got. I’ve hung the mason bee nest in the top photo using a chain and two nails.

Mason bee house

1. Saw the house shape. Using a chainsaw or handsaw, cut a piece about 8″ long from a fallen log, then cut another 1″ out of about 3/4 of it to make a roof. I did this by notching into the wood with the chainsaw, then cutting down to cut off the notched section.

2. Drill the holes. The more closely you space the holes, the more mason bees can nest in your house, obviously, but it’s not such a deal-breaker if you don’t have a ton of holes. I permitted the kids in my troop to drill their holes wherever they wanted, so some kids ended up with tons of holes, and other kids ended up with three!

Mason Bee House

3. Hang the house. Mason bees do have some predators, primarily among birds, so you’ll want to hang your mason bee house away from your bird feeder, and I’ve also seen mason bee nests that include an outer fencing of chicken wire to protect them from being pecked up as they warm up at the entrances to their nests in the early morning sun.

On the other hand, bees and chickens tend to go well together, so a mason bee nest is likely to work well near a chicken coop, and if the mason bees seem to like nesting in your shingles, then a neatly-drilled nest nearby might tempt them away. And, of course, if a mason bee house was hung in your garden, then the mason bees wouldn’t have very far to go to pollinate your flowers!

Note: Because parasites and diseases are a concern for these vulnerable bees, you should discard this mason bee house every year and make the bees a new one. Toss the old one on the fire pit and invite some friends over for an afternoon of native habitat enrichment!

Keep up with the latest in the world of green crafts by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑

  • Let’s Connect!

  • Popular Posts + Pages


    How do I reuse...?

    The Crafting a Green World guide to choosing green art and craft supplies.

    Green Crafts for Kids

    DIY Ideas for Home

    Green Holiday Crafts, All Year Round

    Do you love toilet paper roll crafts as much as we do? Today we’re sharing 50 projects that you need to see!

    We’ve rounded up 25 incredible DIY crafts and activities that will make you rethink the average disk. Click through each link below and be inspired!

  • Back to Basics Ebook

    We are thrilled to have a project in Jen Gale’s guide to mending. Get your copy here!

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.


Shares