5 Best Bee Hotels For Your Garden (In 2022)

A bee hotel or bee house is a wooden structure with holes that provide places for solitary bees to nest, breed and stay safe from threats. You can place a bee hotel in your garden as a way to help out bees in your area.

Bee hotels won’t be enough to attract native bees to your garden, though. You also need to ensure you plant a wide variety of flowers that bloom during different parts of the year.

Flowers, along with a source of water, will draw nearby bees to your garden. Once they arrive, a bee hotel can be a great way to provide them with somewhere to live.

What type of bees use hotels?

Unlike honey bees, which live in a nest, there are many species of bees that are solitary. These bees need to find places in the wild to rest and lay eggs.

A lot of solitary bees use natural cavities such as existing holes in timber, woodpecker holes, or hollow stems. Bee houses replicate the same structures found in nature and offer another option for native pollinators. Mason bees, resin bees, leafcutter bees, and reed bees are all examples of bees that might use a bee hotel.

What to consider before buying a bee hotel

If you’re going to buy a bee hotel, it’s best to understand what makes a quality one. Otherwise, you could actually do more harm than good. That’s because some hotels might attract pests and parasites. You might end up with wasps, ants, and mites instead.

The best bee hotels will have:

  • A roof that protects bees from the rain and cold weather, especially one that sticks out over the front of the holes.
  • A backing board that protects bees from harsh wind and rain.
  • Good quality wood that won’t deteriorate in bad weather.
  • Tubes that are 12cm (5 inches) or longer. Some species of bee lay female eggs at the back of the tunnel, and female eggs up the front. If the tube is too short, they’ll only lay male eggs.
  • Have holes that are no wider than 1cm (0.4 inches). Anything larger and bees won’t use them.
  • Tubes that are easy to clean. This is something that should be done every winter to avoid the risk of disease.

Best location for your bee hotel

Bees like the morning sun but need some cover, especially during summer. They also need protection from rain, as well as a nearby source of water to drink from.

Placing the hotel too close to the ground makes it an easy target for invaders such as ants, or animals like raccoons which may come sniffing around – so be sure to hang it somewhere between 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) high.

The best location for your bee hotel is against a fence or a wall. If you have a position that provides some shelter, like the overhang of a barn roof, that is perfect. It should get plenty of sun, so have it facing a south or south-east direction (north or north-east if you are in the southern hemisphere). You also need to place the hotel close to flowers, but not so close that vegetation blocks bees from the entrance.

Best Bee Hotels Summary

Best bee hotel overallTOOBEETT Mason Bee House
Best hotel for different types of pollinatorsPOLLIBEE Mason Bee House
Easiest bee hotel to cleanConich Mason Bee House
Best bee hotel with wooden nesting tubesWHITEHORSE Premium Cedar Bee House
Best bee hotel with cardboard nesting tubesPOLLIBEE Hexagonal Bee House

Best overall Bee Hotel

Another great bee hotel is the TOOBEETT Mason Bee House. It is very similar in design to the POLLIBEE bee hotel because it has both cardboard and wooden nesting tubes, as well as a butterfly slit at the bottom.

The main difference is the shape of the roof, with the TOOBEETT hotel opting for a flat top rather than a sloped roof. This roof sticks out further than the sides of the frame, helping add some much-needed protection against rain. This is especially important given the cardboard tubes are at the top of the hotel and can get easily damaged by water.

There are also numerous buckles on the hotel, making it easy to hang in your garden or attach to a post. It might be a good idea to install the bee house under some sort of cover if you live in an area that receives a lot of rain. The wooden nesting tubes can become swollen if they’re exposed to too much water, making them difficult to remove and clean.

Best for different types of pollinators

The POLLIBEE Mason Bee House is a quality garden hotel that has space for both bees and other bugs such as butterflies and ladybirds. Not only does it look great, but it’s very attractive to mason bees who love nesting inside.

With regards to nesting tubes, this bee hotel combines the best of both worlds. It has a section of holes in the middle part of the hotel that are made from quality cedar wood. Then, at the top directly underneath the roof, there is another set of nesting tubes made from cardboard.

Both of these parts are easily removed, so you can replace the cardboard tubes when you need to clean out the wooden ones.

Given the cardboard tubes are directly under the roof, they get maximum protection from the rain. The wooden roof and frame of the hotel are coated in wax to protect them from water, too.

There is also a section at the bottom with multiple slits to invite other bugs into the hotel, such as butterflies and ladybirds. This makes it a great shelter not just for bees but other insects as well.

Easiest to clean

One of the major drawbacks of most bee hotels is that the nesting holes are difficult to clean. The Conich Mason Bee House overcomes this problem with an innovative design.

Instead of tubes that are glued in place, it has wooden trays with grooves cut out of them that form enclosed holes when stacked upon one another. This means you can remove them easily when it comes time to clean.

The bee hotel even comes with a special brush you can use to clean the wooden trays, so you should have no problem maintaining proper hygiene for pollinators.

The house is very deep, too, offering ample room for bees to lay eggs at both ends of the nesting tubes. It’s a stylish, functional bee hotel that’s suitable for any garden.

Best bee hotel with wooden nesting tubes

The WHITEHORSE Premium Cedar Bee House is perfect if you want to provide shelter for mason bees in your garden. It has removable bamboo nesting tubes that are 6 inches long – ideal for bees that want to lay eggs at both the front and back of the hotel. These bamboo tubes will last longer than paper ones, but you’ll still need to clean them with pipe cleaners and replace them from time to time.

The frame is well-constructed and I really like the fact it sticks out an extra 0.5 inches at the sides, and 1.75 inches at the roof. This gives pollinators nesting inside extra protection against rain and wind.

A French cleat mount makes it easy to install in your garden and the hexagonal design is really eye-catching. Overall, a fantastic bee hotel for any garden!

Best bee hotel with cardboard nesting tubes

The POLLIBEE Hexagonal Bee House is similar in design to the WHITEHORSE cedar bee house. The main difference is that it is slightly more affordable because it uses cardboard nesting tubes instead of bamboo. Cardboard varieties are easier to remove than wooden tubes, but they are more wasteful as they need replacing more often.

The one downside of this bee hotel is that the roof doesn’t have much of an overhang, so there’s not a lot of protection against rain. As such, it would be a good idea to install this bee house somewhere where it has some cover from harsh weather.

Summing Up

Hopefully you’ve found a suitable bee house on this list for your own garden. All of them are great options – sturdily built and at affordable prices. With a bit of luck and some patience, solitary bees should start nesting in your hotel and bring some excitement to your garden!

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