Why does my bee hotel not have any bees?

Firstly look very carefully at the holes. If any of the holes are covered or filled with mud, a thin shiny film, a waxy looking substance, or leaves, your hotel is in use. You may not have recognized the solitary bees for bees as the majority do not look like the commonly expected honey bee. 

If your bee hotel has no activity:

  1. Make sure it is not receiving too much direct sunlight. Direct midday and afternoon sun will overheat the bee and her eggs and therefore no bees will choose to take occupation.
  2. Acknowledge the season. Your bee hotel activity will reduce in winter. Unlike honey bees which cluster in the winter, "shivering"/vibrating their wings producing heat and maintaining the hive temperature around 32 degrees. Adult Solitary bees either become dormant in their nests or die off before winter leaving their young (as pupae) to emerge as adults in spring / summer. Activity will begin to pick up again in spring.  
  3. Do not spray insecticides or other harmful chemicals in your garden.
  4. Plant some indigenous plants. Solitary bees, due to their small size, do not travel far to collect pollen and nectar. Also, the Solitary bees found in your garden are native to South Africa and therefore specialise in pollinating South African plants. Encourage Solitary Bees to make your garden their home by planting indigenous flowers.

Does a bee hotel attract honey bees?

No. We understand this legitimate concern as many people react to and are afraid of honey bee stings. Honey bees require a communal living space, whereas a bee hotel offers multiple single holes fit for single solitary bees

For further explanation watch this video

Do solitary bees sting?

Yes and no. Many solitary bees are completely stingless. The species that are able to sting will only sting if thoroughly provoked (i.e. caught and squeezed). Through much experience, we have found solitary bees to be very gentle and docile creatures. Covering or tapping on their holes does not aggravate them.

My bee hotel is full, do I need to get a new hotel every season?

No. They reuse the holes. Once the current occupant has left the hole the next occupant will clean it out and prepare it for her eggs. However, the more bee hotels you have the more bees will live and breed in your garden. We have over 20 hotels hanging on our patio and all are full!

Where is the best place to hang my bee hotel?

  • Veranda \ Patio \ Stoep
  • On a wall under the eaves of your house – front or back door are great options
  • On a window sill
  • On a post in your boma/gazebo