Bumblebees, bees and Co. are considered important beneficial insects. With a bumble bee box in the garden, you can ensure the survival of insects. The following DIY building instructions will help you with species-appropriate construction.

The meaning

The number of insects in Germany is steadily decreasing. Bumblebees are finding less and less food as food crops in the landscape are declining. Paved surfaces are increasingly dominating in home gardens. As a result, bumblebees rarely find a retreat that meets their physiological needs. With a bumblebee box you create an environment in your garden in which the important insects feel comfortable.

Appearance of the bumblebee box

The appearance of the bumblebee boxes differs depending on the design. In principle, such nest sites are large containers that offer access via pipes and holes. There is natural bedding in the bumblebee box.

Above ground or underground?

There are bumblebee nesting sites in underground and aboveground versions. Setting up a bumble bee box in the garden is easy. However, you should make sure that the nest does not heat up too much. The insects prefer warmth in the mornings and evenings, while shade dominates at midday. The bumblebee queen prefers soil nesting sites. In the case of underground structures, control is difficult. The litter from inside can become damp and moldy over time.

Build a bumblebee nest yourself

Hobby craftsmen and enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers can build a bumblebee nest on their own. First of all, you have the choice between above-ground and underground variants. Both nest sites are suitable for a self-made nest. When building, you should consider the following aspects:

  • Material
  • inputs and outputs
  • Drainage
  • litter
  • attachment
  • location
  • time

Das Material

If you want to build a nest box, you need different materials. Depending on the construction, you can also use creative materials. It is important that the bumblebees have easy access and feel comfortable inside the nesting site. The following materials are helpful when building a bumblebee nest:

  • Flower pots, wooden panels, screws, roofing felt and/or cardboard boxes
  • plastic tubes
  • Cable ties and tape for attachment

If you want to build a bumblebee box, you are spoiled for choice. Flower pots, cardboard boxes or wooden slats are equally suitable for providing the insects with an animal-friendly and species-appropriate home.

Preferably equip the inside of the nest with a special nesting material. This is a mixture of fine straw and hay. In addition, dry moss, stones or dog hair are suitable for a feel-good environment for the bumblebees.


Moisture is the enemy of a bumblebee colony. If moisture gets into the bumblebee box during heavy rainfall, they are threatened with extinction. To create drainage, you can cut small holes in the underside of the flower pot, wood, etc. In the event of a flood, the water drains away quickly.

Tip: The drainage is a possible entry point for other insects. With a fine cloth you prevent the ants from getting in, although the water continues to drain away.

inputs and outputs

The bumblebees do not always settle in a self-made bumblebee nest. Entry and exit are necessary for the bumblebees to find their way into their sheltered territory. If you are building a bumblebee nest, pipes are suitable as an entrance. Insert the tubes into the nest and seal the transition with tape.

Note: Bumblebees find it difficult to crawl on smooth surfaces. With a roughened surface, the bumblebees can move quickly.

In addition, there should be a runway in front of the entrance and exit. Bumblebees don’t take off from a standing start, they need a little run-up.

Tip: A block of wood under the entrance pipe is ideal as an entry lane.

The DIY building instructions

In the following section you will find concrete building instructions on how to create a species-appropriate nesting place for the beneficial insects step by step. The following material is required:

  • cardboard box
  • wooden boards or wooden box
  • thin, water-permeable fabric
  • Plastic tubes
  • litter

preparation and ventilation

In the first step of the assembly instructions, prepare the wooden box. If you don’t have a ready-made wooden box, you can build a square container with individual boards (40x40x40cm). Cut a large hole in the front wall to accommodate the entrance and exit later. Small ventilation holes on the side walls prevent mold from forming. If necessary, use grids to prevent other insects from entering through the ventilation holes.


Your choice of location should preferably avoid flooding. Drainage in the form of holes on the bottom of the container is suitable as a support. Stretch a thin fabric over the holes or lay a fine mesh grid over them. This way the water can flow out, but no unwanted residents can get in.

entry and exit

For entry and exit to the bumblebee box, slide a plastic tube through the opening you previously drilled. Make sure the pipes extend a few inches into the bumblebee box so the insects can safely get inside from the outside.

create a nesting place

Now place a cardboard box in the middle of the wooden box. Also drill small ventilation holes in all sides. Moss, litter, dog hair, hay and the like offer the bumblebees an environment in which to feel good.

Note: The cardboard box should be free from harmful substances. Use natural unprinted cardboard.

location and time

When setting up the bumblebee nest, the location is of great importance. In the case of an underground nest for the bumblebees, no precipitation should accumulate at the point. Bury the bumblebee box just below the surface of the earth. With curved tubes you ensure that the bumblebees can comfortably crawl into the box. A partially shaded location is recommended.

Tip: Use moss and stones to prepare the entrance and exit. An environment prepared in this way has a protective and more natural effect. The bumblebees are more likely to settle in your bumblebee nest.

When setting up the bumblebee box, the right time is important. The bumblebee queen moves into her new home with her colony in the summer. Incidentally, the insect colonies spend the winter in a different place. As a result, you should set up the bumblebee nest in the spring to give the bumblebees ample time to find your DIY nest.

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