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Make Your Own Bee Box

Creating your own nesting block is easy and a great family activity!

What you’ll need:

  • Untreated lumber that is at least 4” wide, and can sustain holes with a minimum depth of 3”. 4x4s, 6x6s, stacked 2x4s, as well as old logs, stumps, and snags work well. 
  • Drill and drill bits ranging from ⅛ ”  to 5/16” in diameter. Bits like brad point, made especially for drilling into wood work best, creating the smoothest holes. 
  • A warm location protected from rain, predators, and pesticides. 

Directions:

  • Cut the piece of wood to about 8-12” in height and sand down any rough edges. The height of your nest block isn’t crucial here, you can be creative!
  • Drill holes into your piece of wood using a variety of bit diameters about ¾” from each other. TIP: Countersinking holes will help keep water out of tunnels when it rains. Or you can add a simple overhang to the top of your nest block. 
  • Be sure to sand down any sharp edges that may have formed while drilling the holes as they can harm nesting bees.
  • Decorate your nest block! Although not necessary, painting or staining your nest block can turn it into a piece of art for your garden. Plus, it’s a great way to get the kids involved. TIP: A great stain to use is one made from vinegar and steel wool. In a sealable container, add vinegar and a piece of steel wool and let it sit for a couple days. When ready, apply stain and rinse off. This stain will make the wood darker, which seems to be what cavity-nesting bees prefer. 
  • Attach your nest block to a sturdy structure (side of house, fence post, etc.) facing south to southeast, and high enough off the ground to prevent water from entering the holes. 
  • Enjoy! TIP: There’s no need to clean out or put paper tubes in the holes. Bees will clean out and reuse their cavities.

Did you make one? Share your photos with us! Email pics to habitat@tucsonaudubon.org

 

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Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447

color_square_face_right

Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447

color_square_face_right

Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447