Tin can bee home

You will need: a tin can, opened at both ends and with the edges smoothed down, some bamboo canes, some sticks, a bit of garden twine or string, a small saw (or decent pair of secateurs).

Thread the string through the can and tie a knot, so you have a hoop you can use for hanging horizontally. Now, measure and chop the bamboo cane so it is roughly the length of the can (this does not have to be very accurate, it doesn't matter if they are slightly different lengths). You can chop the bamboo with secateurs, but my children love cutting through the bamboo with a small saw. It's exciting and quite simple, so a good introduction to tools. If you do use a saw, we recommend, for safety, the child wears a gardening/leather glove on the hand not holding the saw. A bow saw works well so you can hold the other side and help the child to control it. Please read this essential safety guide to help you further (page 7 is about saws).

Once you have cut your bamboo, turn the can onto its end. Now you stuff the bamboo into the can until it is 1/2 full. This is a good opportunity to discuss "half and whole" with your child. Now you need to collect sticks. Hay works well too, really whatever you have to hand in the garden. We used bark from an old tree, sticks and dried leaves. Again, stuff them into the can so it is full enough that they will not fall out. Once this is completed, you just need to find a spot to put the bee home. Warm and sunny is best but even if you are in a city flat, the bees will appear eventually if it's hanging from a window or balcony (do make sure it is secure though, we don't want it falling on anyones head!)

Enjoy mason bee spotting!

A bit about Mason Bees, from the nurture store, simply because they are the most likely bees to come and live in your bee home. Mason bees are solitary bees who live in holes rather than hives. They don’t live in colonies with a queen, but instead live alone. They are peaceful bees. The male mason bee has no stinger, and the female mason bee only stings if trapped or squeezed, so they are a great  friendly bee to encourage into your garden. Mason bees are smaller than honey bees and in the UK red mason bees are common.

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