How to... build a bee box

Giants causeway bee box 9

Follow these steps to build your own nesting box to attract bees to your garden.

Bees are an important sign of a healthy ecology. Bee populations have been dwindling in recent years and building homes is just one way of encouraging them to stick around. Follow the steps below to build your very own example of insect real estate.

(Don't forget to ask for an adult's help before using tools or equipment)

What you will need to build a bee box

  • Treated timber board (710mm long, 140mm wide, 20mm thick)
  • Recycled plastic board or corriboard (170mm square)
  • Block of wood (100mm long, 100mm wide and 50 mm thick)
  • 10 sheets of paper  (A4 paper cut to A5 size;  rolls will be approx the length of a pen)
  • Sticky tape
  • Bamboo sticks (approx 10 100mm lengths - these can be bought pre-cut)
  • Drill bit and drill (5mm)
  • Screws or nails instead (4mm x 50mm)
  • Scissors 

Step 1: Gather your materials 

Cutting the pieces of timber
Giants causeway bee box 1
Cutting the pieces of timber

Cut the pieces of timber to the lengths shown, cutting two sections at an angle to form the slant of the roof.

Step 2: Fix the side panels to base panel 

Hammering in the nails
Giants causeway bee box 2
Hammering in the nails

Place the side panel on top of the base panel and drill 2 holes 10mm from the bottom. Do the same for the second panel. Hammer nails into pre-drilled holes.

Step 3: Fix sides and base to back panel 

Drilling in the holes
Giants causeway bee box 3
Drilling in the holes

Line up the assembled pieces to around 50mm from the bottom of the back panel. Drill holes and fix screws.

Step 4: Time for a roof

Adding the roof
Giants causeway bee box 5
Adding the roof

Attach the small wooden block inside the box completing a square shape for the nesting materials to sit. Hammer nails into pre-drilled holes in recycled plastic roof.

Step 5: Your bee box is taking shape

The bee box taking shape
Giants causeway bee box 6
The bee box taking shape

Check all your edges line up and everything is secured well. Drill holes in the backing board that you can use to drill the bee box into a wall in your garden.

Step 6: Furnishing your bee box

Since solitary bees - like the ones you will be attracting - like to burrow you'll have to fill the box with tubes and cylinder shapes.
Giants causeway bee box 7
Since solitary bees - like the ones you will be attracting - like to burrow you'll have to fill the box with tubes and cylinder shapes.

Since solitary bees - like the ones you will be attracting - like to burrow you'll have to fill the box with tubes and cylinder shapes.

Step 7: Fill with circles, tubes and cylinders 

Adding cylinders and tubes to the bee box
Giants causeway bee box 8
Adding cylinders and tubes to the bee box

Add a wooden block the same width as the bee box (with pre-drilled holes of various sizes.) Roll paper around a pencil as tight as possible and secure with a piece of sticky tape. Snip off excess with scissors.

Step 8: Ta-dah Your very own garden furniture for bees

Adding the finishing touches to the bee box
Giants causeway bee box 9
Adding the finishing touches to the bee box

Slot your paper tubes and bamboo sticks into the rest of the space making sure there are no gaps.