WHAT TO DO
ADRIAN THOMAS RSPB wildlife gardening expert Bug hotels (often pallets stuffed with odds and ends) became rather ‘in vogue’ without much science as to what they might be good for, and many end up in a shady corner where they’re probably great for slugs, snails and woodlice, but not much else. So instead, a good place to start is a ‘bee hotel’, boxes stuffed with hollow tubes. Only a small number of the 200-plus species of solitary bee will use them, but success rates are high, if you follow the rules. The boxes need to be fixed firmly, facing south, in a sheltered, sunny position. Bought commercially, the tubes are expensive, but just as effective is to drill your own holes (with a wide range of sizes between 2mm and 10mm) in blocks of hardwood. Make the holes as deep as your drill bit will allow, and finish by sanding off the front – bees won’t go in where they might snag their precious wings. The great thing is that you’ll see whether you’ve had any visitors by whether the entrance holes have been plugged. And remember this is just one of their ‘home needs’ met; they’ll need those nectar- and pollen-rich flowers I’m sure you’ll be growing!