Mark Rayner shows how to craft a haven for these garden friends.
You will need: 19mm plywood or untreated timber cut to the following dimensions:
Also required: Two pieces 260mm wide x 300mm sloping down to 260mm (side walls), 220mm x 440mm piece of carpet underfelt with hessian removed, two small zinc-plated or stainless steel hinges, 40mm galvanised jolt head nails, tape measure, pencil, exterior PVA glue, saw, screwdriver, hammer, paintbrush, sandpaper, drill with 1.5mm and 25mm drill bits and Resene Concrete Clear.
Top tips: Put the box in a well-drained spot not facing south, so it is about 3cm above the ground and protected from excess winds, shade and sun, and ideally is close to nectar-rich, early spring flowers. A site against a tree or building will aid bumblebees’ orientation.
Use older plywood or seal the box insides and edges with very low VOC paint like Resene Ceiling Paint tinted brown and use old underfelt to reduce the risk formaldehyde fumes.
Assemble the four walls, as shown, fixing along the edges with PVA glue and galvanised nails. Sand or lightly file the rear wall’s top edge so it aligns with the pitch of the side walls.
Fix the roof overhang to the roof with PVA and nails – always drill 1.5mm pilot holes before nailing to prevent the plywood from splitting.
Drill a 25mm entrance hole in the front of the box approximately 50mm from the lower edge. Smooth edges with sandpaper.
Apply three coats of Resene Concrete Clear to the box’s exterior surfaces and roof, allowing two hours for each coat to dry.
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