DIY Mason Bee House
Craft a cute and cozy mason bee home with materials you have on hand.
We may not always think about it, but bees do important work for our gardens and backyards – and for the planet. One of the hardest-working pollinators around is the mason bee, a mild-mannered species that does an excellent job of cross-pollination.
You can encourage mason bees to take up residence in your own backyard by building a DIY mason bee house using materials you probably already have on hand. Follow our step-by-step guide to make an inviting mason bee house that these helpful insects will be eager to move into.
- Container (we used a terra cotta flower pot, but you can also use a wooden birdhouse, empty coffee can or oatmeal canister)
- Butcher paper, untreated parchment or paper bags
- Writing utensils or dowels in various widths (we used a pencil and a large marker)
- Clear tape
- Peat moss
- Paint and paintbrush (optional)
1. Prepare the container
If you are using a non-paper-based container, thoroughly clean it inside and out with Home Made Simple Dish Soap. Made with plant-based ingredients, this dish soap provides a powerful clean without phosphates, dyes, parabens, phthalates or gluten.
If using an empty coffee can or similar, remove the lid but leave the bottom intact. If using a flowerpot, cover the drainage hole with paper and tape.
You can also choose to paint the bee house exterior if desired. Mason bees are drawn to bright colors, so choose a bold shade.
2. Make nesting tubes
Create a sturdy nesting tube by rolling a sheet of brown paper snugly around a pencil, wooden dowel or marker. Secure the tube with a few pieces of tape, and gently slide it off the pencil or dowel. Close one end of the tube by covering it with tape. Vary the sizes of the tubes by using different widths of writing utensils or dowels.
Tip: If you’re short on time, you can purchase ready-made nesting tubes at your local hardware or gardening supply store.
3. Assemble the bee house
Place the rolls inside your container, with the closed ends at the bottom of the container. Trim tubes so they are flush with the container opening. Fit as many tubes as possible within the container so they are snug and don’t shift around.
Fill in gaps between the tubes with small handfuls of peat moss. Moss will help insulate the bee house, providing a comfortable environment for the bees. Then give the grime on your workspace a run for its money with our Home Made Simple Multi-Purpose Spray – it’s made with plant-based ingredients that are ready to tackle messes large and small.
4. Find the right site
Choose a south-facing spot in your yard that is protected from rain, and hang it at about eye level. Trees and fence posts are natural choices if available.
Safety Tip: While mason bees tend to be less aggressive than other bee species, it’s important to keep children away from the bee house. Place it far away from favorite play areas. Talk with your kids about how to be safe around bees, and set a good example by exercising caution yourself.
5. Encourage mason bees to visit
Once you have built and installed the mason bee house, it’s natural to want bees to move in right away! Encourage them to visit your yard with these tips:
- Set up more than one mason bee house in different locations
- Plant plenty of flowering plants nearby to provide the bees with nectar and pollen
- Mason bees like to add bits of mud to their nesting tubes, so keep a small dish of mud or clay nearby
- If you notice birds pecking at the bee house, cover the entrance with chicken wire
- Create a bee bath by setting stones in a shallow dish of water near the bee house