DIY Pollinator Can

The perfect size for even the smallest home, this simple container gardening project will attract, feed, and house native pollinators.

| March/April 2019

There are more than 4,000 species of native bees in North America, and while supporting European honeybees is important, helping our native population is even more so. Pollinators are responsible for more than 20 billion dollars of food crops each year, and many species are suffering from population declines due to pesticide exposure, disease, and habitat loss. Even urban gardeners with small patio gardens or containers can provide important habitat for these insects.

If every homeowner and apartment dweller built a pollinator garden like this one, what a huge difference we’d make!

Photo by Jessica Walliser

Build Your Bee Dwelling 

Materials Needed:

  • 31-gallon galvanized trash can
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 1 piece untreated 2-by-4 lumber, 4 to 5 feet long
  • Enough 50/50 potting soil and compost blend to fill the trash can
  • 8 to 12 pollinator-friendly plants, selected from “Best Host Plants for Bees,” below
  • 1 brick
  • 3 pieces 2-by-6 lumber, 18 inches long (cedar, redwood, or another untreated wood is best)
  • Wood glue
  • Piece of burlap, approximately 1-by-3 feet
  • 30 to 50 natural bamboo garden stakes, 2 to 3 feet long
  • Small roll of aluminum hobby wire
  • Roll of natural jute twine

Tools Needed:

  • Hammer
  • Scratch awl
  • Cordless drill with 5/16-inch and 7/16-inch twist bits
  • Pruning shears
  • Wire cutter
  • Scissors

Create Container & Plant Garden

Step 1. (Photo by Jessica Walliser).

3/19/2020 9:23:56 AM

Just curoiuse..,if edibles were planted in this would they be toxic due to the metal and the substance used to galvanize?

9/24/2019 4:16:48 PM

After a decade of idleness, my bee home now has residents. A few years ago, I took your idea and did it a bit differently. I planted lots and lots of California natives along with my landscape plants and vegetables I grow and the response has been tremendous. They came and came and some have now stayed. I couldn't believe it when I went to the compost and looked up to see a number of holes "plugged". It makes me happy.

3/21/2019 9:58:55 PM

Nice one! Thanks!

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