It would be an understatement to say that bees are important. As key pollinators and a crucial part of the food chain, it is imperative that humans do everything possible to preserve bee populations around the world. But how can you do your part?
Your garden and other outdoor spaces can be perfect for bees. With a couple of DIY projects, you can create a sanctuary that will strengthen your local bee communities and bring your garden to life. With World Bee Day just around the corner, there’s no better time to share these fun bee-related DIY projects for you to try. These projects are perfect for both adults and children, making them perfect as a family activity.
What is World Bee Day?
Observed on May 20 every year since 2017, World Bee Day aims to raise awareness of the vital role bees play on our planet. While three out of four crops used for human consumption are estimated to rely on pollinators such as bees, these tiny insects are endangered. However, small changes in the home can have a dramatic impact on creatures such as bees.
This year’s World Bee Day theme is “Bee engagement – Build Back Better for Bees” and focuses on improving the world for bees in the wake of Covid-19. This ties in perfectly with the steps you can take at home, all while encouraging your kids to think about bees as they grow up.
1. Using pallets / scrap wood to make a planter
Bees pollinate flowers as they fly between them to collect nectar. While this helps plants reproduce, it is not the main purpose of bee activity; they are looking for food.
By adding flowering plants to your property, you will encourage a thriving local bee population. Building your own planter can be a great way to do this without having to add patches of soil to your garden.
You just need an old wooden pallet, nails, and a handful of power tools to make this clever DIY planter. A planter like this can hold numerous flowering plants and is beautiful and easy to build with scrap wood.
Alongside a DIY pallet planter, you might want to consider building a fully raised bed with railway sleepers. This will give you even more room for the flowers.
2. 3D printed outdoor planters
Those with access to a 3D printer can print their own simple planters and plant pots from a range of free designs online. Whether you want a basic plant pot (Thingiverse), a self-watering plant pot or anything in between, you can find it online.
It’s worth keeping in mind that fast, low-quality 3D prints won’t be watertight. This means they may leak, and some people will prefer to use a sealing spray to finish the print once it’s ready.
3. 3D printable bee hotel
Many of the most famous bees live in community hives, but that’s not always the case. Some bees live a solitary life, often digging underground or finding holes in pieces of wood or stone.
Bee hotels can offer bees a refuge like this much needed in an increasingly constructed world. If you have a 3D printer, you can easily create hotel bees to place around your home. This 3D printable bee hotel (Thingiverse) offers great shelter from the rain and plenty of space for each bee. It can be printed without supports and does not require any finishing.
If you’d rather combine your bee-related efforts, you can also print this cute Bee B&B (Thingiverse) with built-in plant pots. This will give your bees an excellent food source on hand.
4. 3D printable water bowls and ladders
Bees are not often associated with the need to drink, but they need water just like any other animal. They also use water to build nests, feed and other daily chores.
Like many other insects, falling into water can be very dangerous for a bee due to the surface tension. They can’t go out alone. Providing safe places for bees to drink is easier than ever if you have a 3D printer at home. This bee feeder / drinker on Thingiverse attaches to a jar of water and slowly distributes it to your insect friends. Small islands keep bees safe from water and the fluid automatically flows out as it dries.
If you prefer faster printing, you might also consider using a bowl you already own and a 3D printed ladder (Thingiverse). This will help the bees get out of the water if they fall in.
5. Build a DIY beehive from wood
Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of animal domestication. Many people don’t consider this type of option for their garden, but it can be a great way to build your own thriving bee community.
There are a few considerations to make before deciding to build a DIY beehive.
- Your location: This is a crucial factor when it comes to deciding to build a hive. If you live in a place with very few surrounding plants, your hive is likely to have a hard time. You also need to make sure your bees don’t interrupt your neighbors.
- Space: Hives are not large, but they still have a large footprint. Those small gardens may have a hard time using their space if they have a beehive.
- Access to bees: Some beekeepers expect bees to naturally call their hive home, but it’s quicker to buy a queen to begin with. This will be more difficult in some places than in others.
It is worth remembering that you will be able to make your own honey once you have an established hive. Once you have decided to build a beehive for your home, you will need to find a guide to help you. This DIY beehive guide from Family Handyman is a great place to start, as it gives you all the tips you need to build a quality beehive.
Turn your garden into a bee paradise
World Bee Day is important to everyone, even if they don’t know it. Protecting bee populations around the world will ensure that future generations benefit, just as we have.
You can easily enhance your garden and other outdoor spaces with features that will attract bees and encourage them to thrive. Of course, though, you can also take some time to think about the other visitors who come to your garden.
Launch your backyard with these apps, videos, and websites