Making a bee hotel is a great way to keep kids busy in the garden, and a fun way to explain the importance of having bees in the garden.
There are many different types of bees, and the solitary bee is probably the friendliest helper in the garden. They’re different to honey bees although they look so similar you might not notice a difference. Solitary bees don’t build a hive, they live alone. They’re great helpers in the garden because they help to pollinate flowers and they don’t sting. Their favourite place to nest is in little holes. They bring pollen and nectar to their young to feed them.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
7 pieces of marine plywood (to make a box 15cm deep, 20cm wide and 30cm long), drilled and screwed together or pinned together with panel pins; small logs; any offcuts of wood; bamboo canes (try to get bamboo cane fencing from a garden centre, and pull it apart); some clay and paint to make a bee (optional); duct tape for the roof; hinges and screws; sign for bee hotel/ rates
1. Build the box
Using the panel pins, secure the panels together to form a box shape. Remember to leave two panels for the roof. It is best to have one set of hands holding everything steady and another set of hands doing the hammering.
2. Make the roof
Angle the pieces of wood for the roof into an A-frame shape and use the duct tape to keep the two pieces together. Use two pieces of duct tape, if necessary. Secure the A-frame shaped roof to the box with some more duct tape for a temporary fix, or screw in some hinges.
3. Create hotel ‘rooms’
Cut pieces of wood and bamboo to the same depth as the box. If you sourced bamboo from bamboo cane fencing, remove the bamboo canes from the wire fencing. Drill holes of different depths and thicknesses into the logs and wood pieces (any drill bit between 2mm and 10mm thick will work). Ensure the holes are smooth and clean – remove any sharp pieces left behind and sand it down lightly. Fill the box with the wood and bamboo pieces that have been drilled and cut to size – make sure they’re evenly distributed, well compacted and secure.
4. Location, location, location!
Place the hotel in a sunny spot in the garden, on a south-facing wall, 1m above the ground. Solitary bees love having a variety of flowers to choose from, so plants lots of marigolds, Gazania, lavender, Salvia, Plectranthus, Hibiscus, Osteospermum, Alyssum, and Portulaca near the area. Not only are you feeding bees, but you’re also adding colour and delight to your garden. You can then add a few homely touches to your hotel – make a clay bee, paint it, paint the roof red if you like, and make a sign with your hotel’s name (‘Daniel’s Bee Hotel’, for example).
Be sure not to disturb the bees and their nests because that’s where they keep their babies and their eggs.
Details: Visit www.lifeisagarden.co.za for more info.
With only four ingredients, Honey Joys are a fun and easy treat to make with your kids!
45ml butter; 80ml sugar; 15ml honey; 1 000ml cornflakes
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a muffin tray with cupcake holders.
Heat the butter, sugar
and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until frothy. Remove from the heat.
Add the cornflakes and mix well to completely coat. Spoon the mixture into
Bake for 10 minutes, until golden and shiny.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. They will crisp as they cool.