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Build your own pollinator hotel

What is a Pollinator Hotel?

A pollinator hotel is a habitat for bees and wasps that is created from a variety of materials.

Why Build a Pollinator Hotel?

If you would like to support native pollinators that are declining due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and other factors, you should build a pollinator hotel.  But what else can you do?air b n b sign

  • Grow native plants that support native pollinators.
  • Plant a diverse landscape.
  • Use pesticides only when necessary and if you do use them, apply in the late afternoon or evening when pollinators are less active.
  • Refrain from using pesticides on windy days and opt for the liquid form.

 

How to Build a Pollinator Hotel

You can use a variety of materials to build a pollinator hotel, but use the items listed below to build a hotel based on our recommendations.

Materials Needed for Constructing a Pollinator Hotel

  1. Five pieces of wood (not pressure treated) all cut to the same size (our pieces were 5 1/2” wide x 9”long)
  2. Galvanized exterior nails (at least 1” long)
  3. Bamboo cut into small 3-4 inch pieces and other nesting material such as wood blocks, 1/2” garden hose and pvc pipe
  4. Hammer
  5. Painter’s tape
  6. Extra piece of wood for hammering support

Steps for Constructing a Pollinator Hotel

  1.  Tape three sides together vertically, using painter’s tape. Set aside.Building a pollinator house
  2. Measure 1 1/2” from the corners of two pieces of wood and mark. You will have four places marked on each piece of wood. Hammer in nails, using a extra piece of wood for support.
  3. Once your top and bottom pieces have nails installed, you are ready to attach them to the sides of your pollinator hotel.
    Remember, the three sides are being held in place by painter’s tape.
  4. Hold the top piece in place and hammer down the nails to attach the top piece to the sides. Do the same for the bottom piece. Go slow and take your time!Tillandsia in bloom
  5. Once the top and bottom piece are in place, hammer nails into the side pieces to secure them together. We used two nails on each side. You are nailing both sides of the hotel to the back.
  6. Your pollinator hotel frame is now complete. You are ready to install the bamboo and other “hotel room” items.
  7. Add bamboo pieces to the interior of the hotel. Make sure the bamboo is cut to varying lengths and does not stick out. This will keep the hotel rooms protected from the elements.
  8. There are other elements you can use for housing. Install blocks of wood with holes drilled to varying depths (3-8 inches deep, 1/8-1/2 inch drill bit size).
    Install pieces of grass and twigs in open spaces to hold bamboo in place.Nail the pollinator house together
  9. Place your hotel in a location where it is protected from extreme wind and weather. Morning sun is preferred.

Maintenance

You know you have hotel visitors when you see cavities sealed or plugged. The offspring will emerge from these cavities after a few months (sometimes up to a year).

Clean out your hotel every 2-3 years to prevent disease and encourage new residents. Make sure that you encourage residents to leave before you discard any materials by placing all nesting material in a dark box with one exit hole on the bottom. Place the box on the edge of a table so that the hole on the bottom is open. The bees and wasps inside will follow the light and exit the box. You can then discard material and add new.

adding bamboo to a pollinator houseTips & Tricks
  • Keep your hotel small and simple so the pollinators can locate the hotel and find a room.
  • Paint your hotel with colorful designs using bright blue and yellow—no red!

Where can I find more information?
Leafcutter Bees
Blue Orchard Bee
Large Carpenter Bees
Potter Wasps
Attracting Native Bees to Your Landscape

Click here for the fact sheet (pdf) of this blog post.pollinator house

For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk.  The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Give us a call, or email us at polkmg@ifas.ufl.edu.

If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic.

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida.  The program extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

An Equal Opportunity Institution.

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