Open a bee hotel and help save our bees

Leaf-cutter bees may take up residence in your hotel. Photo © Mick Massie

Set up an OPAL bee hotel in your garden and help in our nationwide effort to protect our bee populations.

Bees are incredibly important insects that play a vital role in pollination. As they travel from flower to flower they transfer pollen which enables plants to reproduce.

In fact, we rely on bees to pollinate apples, carrots, coffee, cotton and many other important crops.

There are about 250 species of bees in the UK. Some, like the familiar Honeybee, live in colonies and in hives. But many other species choose to nest alone or in small groups.

Bee hotels are easy to set-up and can be placed in your garden or allotment

OPAL West Midlands are using bee hotels to help support the populations of these important species. Consisting of a number of hollow tubes, they can be used by the many bee and wasp species that nest in tiny spaces such as hollow plant stems, holes in wood and deadwood.

Happily, the bees that use these hotels do not produce painful stings, but we still recommend that you observe the bees from a distance of about two metres so as not to disturb their normal behaviour.

Get a free bee hotel for your garden and help test our photo guide

UPDATE 31 March 2010: We apologise but we now have no more bee hotels remaining. Learn how you can make your own bee hotel on the bee hotel project page.

OPAL West Midlands are producing photographic guides to help identify the residents in a bee hotel. We need your help to test these guides and provide us with feedback.

If you would like to help, we can send you a free bee hotel for your garden or allotment. Interested? Please email

Want to learn more about bees and other insects? Chat to the experts on the Natural History Museum bug forum.