Did you know that not all bees live in colonies or build hives in which to live and nest? Many bee species are solitary – they live alone and build their nests in tiny places like hollow stems and holes in wood. Though they do not make honey, solitary bees are absolutely necessary as pollinators of crops and flowers. These bees are usually very docile and peaceful, very reluctant to sting.
Bee hotels are a great way to attract more of these beneficial pollinators into your garden while helping to give the bees a habitat that will aid in boosting their declining populations. A bee hotel contains materials that bees like to nest in, like wood drilled with holes, hollow bamboo stalks, and other materials that mimic the bees’ natural nesting areas. A bee hotel can contain a huge variety of materials or just a few, and can be large and elaborate or small and simple. Size really doesn’t matter, since each bee really only needs one hole in which to nest.
Building bee habitats like this is obviously beneficial to garden plants and to bee populations in general, but they also just look really cool! Here are 27 awesome bee hotel ideas, from tiny simplicity to grandiose luxury.
This artistic bee box from Chris Carpenter Garden Design is full of a variety of materials and textures. It is for sale on his website, but would also make a great DIY project.
A bee hotel can be made out of all kinds of materials, as you can see in this one. This house sits in the kitchen garden of Louis XIV’s palace in Versailles. Image via Landscape Lover
Many communities are adding bug hotels to their parks and education centers. This one sits at The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA.
Here’s a gorgeous, rustic bee condo that sits in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Image via CBC
Bee hotels can be large, freestanding structures or small enough to hang on a wall, like this one. Image via Debra Solomon
This gorgeous bee house from Greener Spaces Ltd features tons of different materials with lots of space for insects, complete with a living roof and chimney.
A bee hotel does not have to be large or elaborate. This cute little cinder block house from Little Eco Footprints is a great example of how you can make one out of minimal materials and space.
Bricks and pieces of cinder block make perfect spaces for extra holes and bamboo stalks in this bee condo. Image via www.sav-überlingen.de
This gorgeous little bee hotel was part of the Beyond the Hive competition, in which designers competed to create sustainable bug habitats for London parks. Image via Inhabitat