For each hotel, you will need a 2L pop bottle, washed and dried, 1 metre of twine and about 15 metres of dried bamboo, elder, raspberry, thistle, dock, cow parsley or other hollow stemmed plant, and some sticky tape. A variety of stems will provide different sized crevices for different sized bees and other pollinators too. Handy tools needed are scissors, hacksaw or loppers, and a bradawl. This craft may require an adult to cut the plastic and the lengths of stem, or at least close supervision.
Cut the top and shoulders off the pop bottle, so that it is about 15 cm in length to the base.
Make a hole on the base at the side and thread the twine or string through it. Tie the two ends together. Tape the string to the inside of the bottle to keep it out of the way of the stems.
Cut the stems to 15cm to match the length of pop bottle. Pack them vertically into the bottle. Fill till no more can be added. Your bumble hotel is ready for use.
Find a suitable location for your bumble hotel. We hung ours in a tree, as this is closest to the bees’ experience in the wild. Other sites could be a fence or wall. The aspect should be SE, S or SW facing for warmth. It should be at least 1m from the ground and at eye level if you want to find out which creatures have moved in. The bottle should be horizontal, or sloping gently downwards at the opening to shelter the residents from the rain. Hang your bumble hotel between mid-March and early October. Taking it down in winter means it will last longer, but remember to re-hang it next Spring!
Thanks to Adam Bates, Community Scientist at OPAL for these instructions.