How to Build a Home For Bees in Your Backyard

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As we all know, bees provide an essential service in our gardens, so why not make an inviting space for them.

bee home

A little over a year ago, the utility company came through my neighborhood to prune trees away from the power lines. This is a great service for hurricane season. I was not too happy with the result in my yard though. My maple was butchered in front of my eyes, with the worker stating “I guess you are going to have to get rid of that tree”. None of its branches came near the line, and other trees right along the line did not suffer the same fate, so I am not sure as to the reason for their thoroughness in removing all the branches from my maple. The tree seemed like it was coming back, but it obviously did not survive the winter. Now, I did see it as a threat. Dead tree falling.

    With the family away (my little girls are always at hand when I am working outside), I thought it would be a great time to begin taking the remains of the tree down. Being forty feet in height, and ten feet away from the power lines did mean that I had to be careful. Everything went better than I expected. As I was preparing to cut the trunk into smaller pieces, I began to wonder if there was anything I could do with them, instead of putting them out for heavy trash. An idea struck me, which my wife considers to be a bad thing when it comes to old trunks. I could make something. I had seen a carpenter bee exploring the playset, so a home for the bees was in the works.

    Katya, my older daughter, loves finding the animal life around the home. She wants to turn them all into pets. I do let her keep the frogs or lizards that she finds for a day or two, but I do want to discourage having them in the house (she has let them roam). Katya, Sakura, and I do sit to watch the bees around various flowering bushes, so a bee home seems perfect.
    I took to metal conduits that I have as poles. Over these I slipped a pvc pipe to hold up a 4″ diameter pipe that I want to use as a planter. More pvc pipe as a spacer for another planter pipe, and then the new bee home. I took off the bark, and drilled two holes into the trunk. These holes were placed for the metal conduit to slip into.  I picked a section of the trunk that had roughly the same 4″ diameter, and already had some spaces for the bees to explore. I am drilling some 3/4″ holes into the trunk to help the carpenter bees. Katya should be happy. I think that I might sand the trunk, and paint the smaller pvc pipes. Have to make it look nice for the wife. The picture is taken at the stage of first setting it up. I am placing 90 degree pipe bends on the ends of the pipes to complete the planter sections. I would have to cut holes for the plants then.
    I am not sure if this will increase vegetable production. It might, but the girls will certainly enjoy it. I think my son will explore it too. Maybe I should explore beehives for homey production next; however, I do like the idea of an aviary. I have to see if I can sell that idea to my wife.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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