DIY Butterfly and Bee Houses!
Spring has sprung which means it’s time to welcome all kinds of new friends into our backyards! And we’re not talking human friends - we’re talking bees and butterflies! You may be thinking… “hey, don’t bees just live in hives”. Good question! But not all of the time. Orchard mason bees are small bees native to North America and are very good pollinators for flowers and fruit trees. They visit as many a 1,000 blooms per day. Mason bees do not use hives like honeybees. In nature, mason bees place their eggs in holes drilled by beetles or woodpeckers. If there are no holes for them to hang out in, they aren’t going to stick around! The same goes with butterflies, they may swing by to pollinate but will not hang around unless there’s somewhere for them to stay and lay eggs!
We’re going to help out our new friends and build some super simple homes for them! Let’s get started!
DIY BEE HOUSE
YOU WILL NEED…
¼ inch plywood (a 2’x2’ piece)
Bamboo sticks (hollow)
Extra sticks (optional)
Copper paint pen (optional)
Rope or twine
Start with your ¼ inch piece of plywood. Start by drawing out two pieces that are 5 ¼ inches wide and 2’ long. Cut these out using a hand or circular saw. A great tip is to use a scrap piece of lumber as a ruler to make sure you are cutting a straight line.
Next, cut two more pieces that are ½ inch shorter on width wise, but the same length wise. Finally, cut a 5 ¼ x 5 ¼” square to act as our back piece.
Time to wood glue our house together! Make sure you keep the two wider pieces on opposite sides from each other. Glue all the way around the edges of the pieces, joining all the pieces on the sides and the at the bottom to the back piece. You can use tape to hold everything together while it dries. Next you’ll need some bamboo sticks! These usually come hollow, which is exactly what we need! Cut these the length of our box. You’ll need enough to fit snug inside of the box.
Once the box is try, give it a sand and add your bamboo. If the bamboo is still loose and there is space between the pieces, feel free to add sticks around the bamboo to tighten things up! To hang this up, we added a saddle clip to the box with a couple of small screws. We also painted these screws using a copper paint pen! When the time comes, simply use some twine or rope to hang the bee house!
DIY BUTTERFLY HOUSE
YOU WILL NEED…
Hand saw or skilsaw
Drill + 3/8th drill bit
Foliage (sticks, bark, leaves)
Start with a wine box! We find these at the thrift store all of the time, but they also sell them at LCBO here in Ontario (or any store that sells wine anywhere else). Start by making two marks on two parallel sides of the box. Make on mark on each side 1 inch down from the top, and the other 3 inches down from the top. Connect these two dots to form an angled line. Next, go ahead and slide out the front panel of the box and cut along the line using a sand saw. Cut three inches off the top of the panel you removed as well to make sure this piece sits flush when slid back into the wine box.
Time to make the little doors for the butterflies. Remove the front panel again, and draw three 3” lines spaced out evenly. Next, grab a drill with a 3/8th inch drill bit. Go ahead and drill two holes at the top and bottom of each 3” line! This will help us cut out slits later. Once all the holes are drilled, use a skilsaw to cut between the two holes drilled to create a slit! Once cut, sand everything down and add the front panel back into the wine box!
Time to add a roof to our house! We cut a 7 inch piece of wood out of a 1x6’ piece of wood. Center the lid on the top of the house and drill two pilot holes on either side of the house through the roof and into the sides. Use two screws to attach the roof to the box. We are using screws instead of nails so that we can remove the lid each year and clean it out!
Make sure to add twigs, leaves, and bark inside of the house before you close it all up!
Next, attach a U-bolt the top of the lid for easy hanging! Re-screw on the lid and your butterfly house is complete! Make sure to hang it low and near native garden flowers so that the butterflies have easy access.
And that’s it! Two ways to help our planet and our new neighbours! Check out the video below for more!