Can You Paint Bee Hotels? (Complete Procedure!)

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Whether you have made or bought a bee hotel, it’s no surprise if you want to paint it so that it matches the decorations in your garden or blends nicely with its surroundings. Bee hotels are cute, but painting them takes them to the next level. However, you might be wondering whether this is safe for the insects. 

You can paint a bee hotel if you really want to, but be aware that the chemicals in many paints may deter bees, so you should choose with great care. It may be better to use a stain or varnish that will help your bee hotel last longer without bothering its inhabitants. If you want to paint it, use water-based paints, and not ones with solvents in them. 

Solvent paints may smell strong to the bees long after they have lost any scent that you can detect, and this could put off your visitors. Don’t put any strong chemicals on your bee hotel, or they might deter or even harm the bees. 

How Do You Paint A Bee Hotel?

The exact method will depend a bit on whether you are building your own or buying one ready-built. If you are building your own, you might wish to paint the components before you put them together, although you certainly don’t have to. 

Step One) First, choose your paint. Think about the color and the kind of paint that it is. Paints that will help to protect your bee hotel from the elements are good. 

Step Two) Sand down your bee hotel to make it smooth and ensure that the paint adheres well to the wood. This is easier to do before you assemble the hotel, but if you have already put it together, simply sand it as best you can. It does not need to be perfect for the bees! 

Step Three) Use a damp cloth to remove the dust from the hotel’s surface, and then leave it to dry. Do not use a wet cloth, as this will raise the grain of the wood – just damp enough to pick up the dust should be fine. 

Step Four) Mix your paint thoroughly, stirring it for several minutes. Next, take a paintbrush and dip it in the paint, and carefully paint the whole exterior of the house, except for the base. Use a smaller brush for any fiddly parts. Don’t paint the materials that you are going to fill the hotel with. When you have finished, set it aside to dry. 

Step Six) Paint the base of the hotel and set it aside to dry. 

Step Seven) Repeat the above two steps until all external parts of the bee hotel have received two coats of paint. This should help the paint to last well and stand up to the elements for years. You do not have to do two coats, but it will give you much better results than just one. 

Step Eight) Ensure that the hotel is absolutely dry, and then assemble it. Add the nesting material only when the paint is totally dry and has been left for twenty-four hours or more. 

Step Nine) Finish off anything that still needs to be done on the hotel, and then hang it up in your garden and wait for it to be populated! 

What Not To Do When Painting A Bee Hotel

Don’t paint the hotel with the nesting materials inside it if you can avoid doing so. You don’t want paint on parts that the bees will be touching regularly, as this could be harmful. You only want to paint the exterior of the hotel, so remove any nesting material before you start if possible. 

Is It Better To Buy Or Make A Bee Hotel?

The choice is your preference, either of the two does the same job and the bees love them both the same.   

Buying a bee hotel can be expensive, not helpful when trying to budget your gardening spending. On the other hand, the material will be of better quality and can last years. Also, the appearance of the bee hotel will look much higher quality making your garden look more attractive.   

Creating your own bee hotel is a cost-effective method using unwanted materials around the house like cardboard and plastic. This also is an environmentally friendlier way of making a bee hotel. The quality and appearance may be cheap but can still do the same job. If interested in creating your own bee hotel check out our Step-by-Step Guide. 

Are There Advantages To Painting A Bee Hotel?

The biggest reason to paint your bee hotel is that the paint will help it to last for longer. The paint will also make it look nice in your garden. 

Whether or not the bees will notice is hard to say. If you paint it blue or purple, it may be more visible to them, because they are attracted to this color range. 

However, no studies have yet been done on whether bees respond to purple hotels over plain ones, so if you prefer to leave your bee hotel natural or you want to paint it a different color, go ahead!