Many of us are unaware of the role that bees and other insects play in sustaining our natural environment. Sadly, with the rise in pollution in many areas, insect numbers have severely declined. However, you can do your bit to make your garden a more welcoming environment for insect life. By growing bee-friendly flowers, or investing in some bee houses, you can encourage bees and other insects to make your garden their home. By attracting these beneficial insects you can also naturally maintain and improve the health of the plants in your garden!

 

Product FAQ

1. What Are Bee Houses?

bee house

A bee house is not just another way of referring to a bee hive. Whereas the structure of a bee hive will contain a colony of bees who all work together and produce wax and honey, bee houses are for solitary bees who do not live in hives.
 


2. What Is A Solitary Bee?

solitary bee

A solitary bee is not a bee lost from a hive. They are a different species of bee entirely. Species like the Mason Bee do not make honey like the honeybee, but they are common all over America. Mason bees are smaller than honeybees and are resistant to many of the diseases and mites that can cause trouble to honeybees. 

 

3. Why Should You Buy A Bee House?

bee house

Although solitary bees do not make honey, that is not the only reason that bees are useful. Bees, like other insects, pollinate flowers and fruiting trees so that they produce fruit. In fact, Mason bees are increasingly being selectively bred to be especially good pollinators. So whether you have a garden or a whole orchard, encouraging solitary bees to take up residence in your bee houses can boost the production of fruits and flowers.  

 

4. Where Can You Buy Bee Houses?

bee houses

Bee houses can be bought from many garden centers, from specialist bee-keeping websites, and online stores like Amazon. You can also make a bee house if you are interested in crafting, and you could make it from recycled materials to be even more eco-friendly.

 

5. What Should You Consider When Buying A Bee House? 

bee house

Bee houses come in various sizes and shapes. Inside each bee house will be separate tubes for the bees to nest in. Some have nesting holes for just a few bees or other insects and some have many. You'll have to decide on how big you want your bee house to be, and whether you want the holes to be of different sizes to accommodate various different insects, or all of the same size.

 

6. How Do I Maintain My Bee House?

bee house

Though encouraging solitary bees to nest in your bee house is nowhere near as intense as keeping a beehive, there are a few things you'll need to do to keep the bees coming back. the most important is that you'll need to clear out the tubes that the bees used to nest in once their larvae have hatched. this will leave the tubes clear for them to nest again the next year. Some bee houses have replaceable tubes, and others open up for easy cleaning.

 

How We Reviewed

We have chosen a range of bee houses on the market to review, and have described their features, summarized their Pros & Cons and let you know their price and where you can buy them.

 

Overall Price Range Of This Product (And Similar Products)

The bee houses we reviewed ranged in price from around $10 to around $50. The more expensive products tended to be better made. However, this was not a hard and fast rule, as one of the more expensive models was reviewed poorly on its construction quality.

 

What We Reviewed

  • Mason Bee House - Crack'n Special
  • Crown Bees Mason Bee Holes Wood Tray
  • Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House/Hotel
  • Evergreen Bee Habitat Wall Mounted
  • Nature's Way Bird Products CWH9 Better Gardens Beneficial Insect House
  • Wildlife World Interactive Mason Bee Management System House
  • Gardener's Supply Company Mason Bee House
  • SKOOLIX Outdoor Garden Bee House and Insect Home
  • Welliver Outdoors Mason Bee House
  • Esschert Design WA02 Bee House

Features 

This bee house is especially designed to be a home for Mason bees. It is ideal for those who want to be able to observe the solitary bees in their burrows, as the house can opened easily. This also means that the tubes can be cleaned, reducing the risk of parasites infecting the house. This bee house comes with detailed instructions on how to set up your bee house and special bee food to attract bees to nest in the house.

                                      Pros

  • High quality wood construction
  • Family run business
  • Information on bees
  • Inexpensive

  Cons

  • Fewer tubes than other bee houses

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around twenty dollars.


Features 

This bee house is made from a series of stacked trays, which create the cylindrical tubes bees need to build their nests. It is made of wood and comes in medium and large sizes. If you buy this model, you will need to buy an additional roof or shelter to protect the top of the structure from rain.

                                      Pros

  • Large
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to clean

  Cons

  • Expensive
  • Doesn't come with roof or rain shelter

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $35 for a medium bee house, and $50 for the large bee house.

 

Features 

This is one of the cuter of the bee houses that we surveyed. It looks just like a little house! The house has sections designed to provide shelter for all sorts of insects: not only bees, but lacewings, butterflies, and others. The Insect Hotel is built by hand using all-natural processes out of pine, bamboo, and pine cones. It is available in classic, red, and blue finishes.

                                      Pros

  • Cute
  • Handmade

  Cons

  • Small

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around eighteen dollars.

Features 

The Evergreen bee habitat is another house shaped bee house with a range of different sized wooden tubes for bees and other insects. Like the other house-shaped bee houses we have reviewed, this model is designed to be mounted on a wall. However, it also comes with a hanger so that it may be hung from a tree. Purchasers comment on the model's sturdiness and quality construction, however some said that the back of the house fell off when the staples attaching it rusted through.

                                      Pros

  • Wall mounted or hanging options
  • Sturdy construction

  Cons

  • Back may fall off

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for almost twenty dollars.

Features 

This Insect house is designed with the aim of attracting both Mason bees and Leaf-cutter bees. It has different sized tubes that the two different species of bee will like to nest in. The house comes with instructions on how to set up the house, and advice on the best places to put the house in order to attract the bees. However, some purchasers commented that the quality of this product was not as good as other bee houses, and that the tubes were not adequately drilled for the needs of the bees. Nevertheless, other users claimed that despite these flaws, bees seemed to love the house.

                                      Pros

  • Purchasers report bees love it
  • Comes with detailed instructions
  • Cheap

  Cons

  • Quality variable

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around ten.

Features 

This bee house is made of a system of stackable trays with channels bored into them, making it easy to remove debris and clean out the house at the end of the season. Reviewers described it as being greatly loved by the bees in their area, and that all the holes quickly had bees living in them. The bee house is sturdily constructed out of wood, however some purchasers commented that the finish on the wood was not smooth enough.

                                      Pros

  • Good design idea
  • Bees love it

  Cons

  • Sometimes rough

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $35.

Features 

This bee house made of bamboo and shaped like a raindrop to allow water to slide off it. The house is not designed to be permanent and will last for approximately two years. The quality of the item appears to vary, however. Some buyers report that they received a high quality item but other users report that they were dissatisfied with the construction of their bee houses.

                                      Pros

  • Bamboo construction
  • Pleasing raindrop shape

  Cons

  • Variable quality
  • May arrive broken

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around twenty five dollars.

Features 

This is another teardrop shaped bee house with bamboo outer cover and bamboo tubes. It comes with an eco-friendly hanging rope, meaning that it can be hung on walls, from hooks or on trees. Purchasers report that the bee house was easy to set up, however some said it came with the tubes falling out. others reported that the tubes were of the wrong size to attract bees and attracted mud wasps instead.

                                      Pros

  • Comes with hanging rope
  • Bamboo construction

  Cons

  • Tubes may be too big to attract Mason bees
  • May attract wasps

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around twenty dollars.

Features 

This house is aimed specifically at attracting mason bees. It is constructed like a little house with a sturdy wooden outer and paper tubes for the inner. The advantage of paper tubes is that they are manufactured specifically to be the correct size for Mason bees, and that they are easily replaced at the end of the season. The Welliver house's simple construction should be fairly foolproof, but some purchasers were unhappy at the build quality or remarked that the house arrived damaged.

                                      Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Paper tubes

  Cons

  • Variable build quality
  • Expensive 

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around forty five.

Features 

This bee house features a wooden outer shell and bamboo tubes inside. Though users report that it is not a very sturdy product they were pleased with the metal roof which kept the rest of the house dry, and the bamboo tubes which were of different sizes to attract different insects. Most people found that bees were willing to nest in this bee house.

                                      Pros

  • Good roof
  • Pleasing design 

  Cons

  • Not manufactured in the USA
  • Not quality construction

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around fifteen.

The Verdict

Choosing a bee house can be a difficult task, especially for those new to the idea of providing bee habitats. We have a few models we would like to recommend, and a few we would advise buyers to steer clear of. The Skoolix and Gardner's Supply bee houses, though very visually pleasing with their teardrop design, were reviewed poorly by those who had bought them. 

 

Though they were relatively inexpensive, buying these bee houses would be a false economy. On the other hand, the rather expensive Welliver Outdoors Mason Bee House was also poorly reviewed, showing that price is not always an accurate reflection of quality.

 

We would recommend the Wildlife World Interactive or the Mason Bees Crack'n Special bee houses. These two houses, though of different styles, are both easy to assemble and to clean and are reported to be well-liked by bees. Either house would be a splendid addition to your yard and will help your flowers, vegetables and fruits to flourish. Not only that, but you will be promoting the overall health of your environment, and observing the bees will provide you with interest for years to come.

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