One thing which you have likely seen for sale quite commonly are bee houses. You can find these being sold everywhere, and they are becoming something which you are seeing in more and more people’s gardens.
If you have a garden, getting a bee house is likely something you want to consider, however, before getting a bee house, you should do as much research as possible so you know how bee houses work, and what they are for.
Also, you have probably noticed the wide variety of bee houses being sold, and how some of them seem to be a higher quality than others. That is part of the reason why this guide has been put together.
It is true that there are some bee houses that are being sold that are simply not appropriate for the task they are needed to do, and these should be avoided.
The reason why people still buy these houses is that there is a lot of misinformation and lack of communication surrounding these, so this guide is here to tell you what you need to know!
So, if you are considering buying a bee house, this guide will tell you which bee houses are the best to choose from, and why we love them.
We will also answer questions about what bee houses are for, and what type of bees use them. We will also answer questions about what you should avoid when looking for a bee house to buy.
Furthermore, we will start by going over our favorite bee houses, then onto the buyer’s guide, and finish with the FAQs if you still have any questions, so if you want to get a bee house, keep reading!
The Best Bee Houses
In the buyer’s guide and FAQs after this product list we will give you all the information you need on how to choose a good bee house, and what qualities you should look out for.
But in this section we will go over all the different bee houses we love to let you know what we like and do not like about them!
OUR TOP PICK
JCs Wildlife Poly Lumber Bee House Product Overview
This is one of our favorite bee houses and it has plenty of different benefits that are perfect for Mason bees in your garden. There are 8 trays that are simple to remove and are perfect for nesting cavities.
And because they are easy to remove, they can also be cleaned easily. This bee house is also not constructed cheaply, so it will last for a good amount of time.
It is also a good size, so it will get plenty of use. It can easily be attached securely to the side of a barn or post using screws.
Why We Love The JCs Wildlife Poly Lumber Bee House
We love how sturdy and durable this bee house is as well as how easy it is to clean.
Why We Do Not Love The JCs Wildlife Poly Lumber Bee House
This is one of the more expensive bee houses on the list.
Welliver Outdoors Mason Bee House Product Overview
Now if you do not want something as big as our previous pick, then this is a great option since it is quite small and exclusively designed for Mason bees.
It uses smaller paper tubes that all have the perfect 8 mm width for Mason bees, however, if you want leafcutter bees, you will need smaller tubes.
The tubes are not replaceable or permanently attached, so you will need to replace them every year, but at least they are not permanently attached and impossible to clean like other brands.
Why We Love The Welliver Outdoors Mason Bee House
We love the more compact design and how easy switching out the nesting tubes is.
Why We Do Not Love The Welliver Outdoors Mason Bee House
There is no option to clean out the paper straws included, but you might be able to find your own insert to do this with.
Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House Product Overview
Compared to our previous options, the bee house is designed for a wide variety of different species with Mason bees being one of the main targets. We love the natural look that this bee house has, and it is made almost entirely from natural materials.
There are different sized tubes which mean that this appeals to different types of bees as well making it a great option. It also is a lot smaller than it looks, so do not worry about its bulky design standing out.
Why We Love The Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House
We love the look of this bee house and how it is designed to accommodate a wide variety of different bugs and bees.
Why We Do Not Love The Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House
Because of the varied design it is a lot harder to clean, so while it is useful, it is a lot more temporary than other options.
The POLLIBEE Store – Handmade Natural Wooden Mason Bee House Product Overview
We love the appearance of this bee house with its appearance resembling a beehive. It is also covered in wax making it waterproof and therefore a more durable option.
However, it is a lot more difficult to harvest than some of the other options.
Why We Love The POLLIBEE Store – Handmade Natural Wooden Mason Bee House
Very pretty as well as durable.
Why We Do Not Love The POLLIBEE Store – Handmade Natural Wooden Mason Bee House
Being a hanging option makes it much less secure, and it is a lot more difficult to harvest and clean than some other options.
KIBAGA Mason Bee House – Handmade Natural Bamboo Bee Hive Product Overview
This is similar to our previous choice, but is just a bit more accessible. However, it has some similar issues, with it being a hanging option.
And while the bees love bamboo, it is also likely to rot and is hard to harvest from. However, if you want a temporary option, this is a great choice.
Why We Love The KIBAGA Mason Bee House – Handmade Natural Bamboo Bee Hive
Good temporary option with a nice look and the bees love the bamboo.
Why We Do Not Love The KIBAGA Mason Bee House – Handmade Natural Bamboo Bee Hive
Hanging options are less stable, and will not last that long either.
Cestari Rose Pink And Green Mason Bee House Product Overview
We love how these look and the overhanging roof does a great job of keeping the inside dry. These are another good option, but again, a little temporary with how hard they are to clean.
Why We Love The Cestari Rose Pink And Green Mason Bee House
Very cute look, and the design is perfect for keeping the inside dry.
Why We Do Not Love The Cestari Rose Pink And Green Mason Bee House
Inherently temporary with bamboo tubes, but it is possible to clean if you really put effort into it.
If you want some advice on how to choose a bee house, or you feel like you still do not know enough about them after reading through the product list, this buyer’s guide and the FAQ following will give you all the extra information you need on how bee houses work!
Why Do Bee Houses Work?
Something you should know about bee houses is why they work, otherwise you will have no idea why they are designed the way that they are.
As is covered in the FAQs, the bees which use bee houses are Mason bees, and these bees are perfect for the unique shape of bee houses.
They make their homes in a small naturally occurring gap or hole, so this is why bee houses are designed with these holes.
After a female Mason bee has mated, they will place all of their eggs in the cavity they choose separating the eggs using pollen, mud and nectar, and once the cavity is full, the entrance will be plugged using clay to protect the eggs.
Then in the next spring, the young Mason bees will emerge from the hole and get pollinating!
What Bee Houses To Avoid
When looking for a bee house, there are some features you should avoid when looking for one.
One recommendation that really depends on budget, but try to avoid cheaply made bee houses that are designed for aesthetic appeal only and do not actually help the Mason bees in your garden.
Make sure to look up reviews and focus on durability since if your bee house is not useful, and breaks often, the environmental impact of buying new ones is not beneficial.
Features A Good Bee House Needs
You will want removable tubes, this will make harvesting the bees in the winter to protect them from predators a lot more simple than tubes which are stuck in place.
We also recommend using paper inserts if you have bamboo tubes since it is hard to get the bees out of these cavities. You will also want a bee house that has tubes and trays that can be cleaned/replaced annually.
If you clean them each winter, you can remove the cocoons making the bee house have a longer lifespan.
You also want the nesting cavities to be at least 5 inches deep to give the bees enough room to lay eggs. You will want there to be a secure attachment option, so we recommend avoiding hanging bee houses.
Bamboo tubes should also be avoided since they are very hard for Mason bees to actually use, and they are more likely to get moldy too. Pre-drilled blocks of wood are loved by Mason bees, but they are very difficult to clean as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Bees Use Bee Houses?
The most important thing to know when buying a bee house is that they will not attract a massive swarm of bees, and they are actually designed to just attract solitary bees.
While you find that most bees, like honey bees, are social, and this is why they live in hives, there are also solitary bees which prefer to live in a more isolated environment like a bee house.
The best bee for a bee house, and the one you will usually find in a bee house is a Mason bee. If you have not heard of a Mason bee, you do not need to worry about them since they are a great bee to have in your yard.
You will find Mason bee being used as a term for a bee in the Osmia family which has over 350 separate species (see also: Species Breakdown: Mason Bee [Heriades Sp, Neotrypetes])in the US alone.
The most common one in North America is the Orchard mason. These bees have some key differences that help them stand out from bumblebees.
For example, each Mason bee will have a solitary life with a female making her own nest. The nests have natural open cavities like stems or a woodpecker hole, they have to be natural since they can not make their own holes, meaning they do not cause damage.
A Mason bee also does not look like a normal bee without any yellow markings and they are instead a dark blue, black, green, or brown, and some are even iridescent. They are also not very big being about the size of a housefly.
They also do not make any honey, but they are amazing pollinators with about 99% of plants they land on getting pollinated compared to 5% with honey bees.
The final point worth pointing out is that Mason bees very rarely sting, so you do not have to worry about attracting this docile bee into your garden!
Bee House Hole Size Meaning?
Different types of Mason bees prefer different sized holes, so this is worth keeping in mind when looking for a bee house. For example, the most common type of Mason bee, the Orchard Mason bee, wants holes around 8 mm wide or 5/16 of an inch.
But if you are going for Leafcutter bees, or a different type of Mason bee, you want it a little smaller at around 6 mm or ¼ of an inch. Some smaller Mason bees might prefer a hole around 4 mm wide or ⅛ of an inch.
Some bee houses come with different shaped holes, so if you know you have a wide variety of bees in your garden, these might be preferable.
How To Make A Mason Bee House?
If you want to avoid buying a bee house, you can also make one yourself. These will likely not have the same aesthetic appeal of a store bought bee house, however, they are much cheaper to make.
You can even just make one from a can, however you want to make sure you are getting a good natural material for the tubes since you want them to be breathable. Sometimes even paper straws work, however, these will not be as durable in the rain.
Why You Should Use A Mason Bee House?
It is worth keeping in mind that Mason Bees are actually native to the US, so they are ideal for the local ecosystem.
They do not live in colonies, need little care, and because of the pollinating ability they have, they are beneficial to have around.
Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need on getting a bee house. There is plenty to keep in mind when getting one.
Because of this, we recommend trying to find the bee house which suits your garden best, and ensure it is a properly set up bee house that will benefit both your garden and the Mason bees that will be using it!