Welcome to the luxury bee hotel

I love to watch the bees hard at work in our garden, but often think they deserve a holiday. So I was thrilled to get an email from Fiona Lane of Taylors of Harrogate about the world’s first luxury bee hotel. Welcome to the poshest insect residence where tired bees can hang up their wings and enjoy a five-star overnight stay in an indulgent spa.

© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 20.06.16 London, UK. A general view of a Taylor's of Harrogate specially commissioned bee hotel on Hampstead Heath. FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 20.06.16 London, UK.
A general view of a Taylor’s of Harrogate specially commissioned bee hotel on Hampstead Heath.
FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE.
Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

Each room of this charming miniature hotel will delight bees and bee-lovers alike. The Sour Cherry Bedrooms include hollow nesting tubes for solitary bees. The Rose Lemonade Restaurant serves a feast of pollen for fuzzy guests. The Peppermint Leaf Gym gives bees a full-wing workout, and the Sweet Rhubarb Suite is all-the-buzz with decadent sugar-water baths and a UV disco room for waggle dancers. Here are two gym buddies enjoying bee yoga, image courtesy of Taylors of Harrogate.

Bee Hotel interior

The luxury bee hotel was inspired by research led by the University of Bristol which found that a wider variety of bees are thriving in UK cities compared to rural areas, while Taylors of Harrogate’s own research found that under half of Brits surveyed are unaware of the important roles bees play in the production of fruits and vegetables. The Yorkshire-based tea experts created the bee hotel to celebrate the flavour that bees bring to our food and to promote the hard work of our insect pollinators. The hotel is made from balsa wood and key features, such as the sugar-water baths and ultraviolet patterns, are based on scientific research that suggests bees will be enticed to enter for some rest and relaxation!

While city life might be getting better for bees there’s always room for improvement – the luxury bee hotel is certainly a fun idea, but it also reminds us of the importance of bees and that much more can be done to help insect pollinators. Kate Halloran from Taylors of Harrogate says: “Bees are so important in helping to provide great flavour, but less attention has been paid to show how urban areas can be made more pollinator-friendly. The aim of the bee hotel is to not only educate and entertain, but to also inspire action…Many people may be unaware that some of our favourite fruits, including apple and cherries all depend on insect pollinators, including bees. We want to raise awareness of this issue and encourage everyone to get more deeply involved and help create a network of real bee hotels, starting in their own back gardens.”

Tim Barsby from BeeBristol, adds: “Bees pollinate one third of every mouthful we eat and they contribute around £651 million per year to the UK economy. We are all in agreement that we need our hard-working friends but also, right now, that they need us. We’re delighted to see Taylors of Harrogate launching this fun and captivating campaign to help draw attention to the plight of pollinators in such a unique way.”

Taylors of Harrogate’s bee-friendly campaign includes some fascinating facts about bees, provided by The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, including:

  • There are over 250 types of bee in the UK – one of them is the honeybee, 25 of them are bumblebees and the rest are solitary bees.
  • A bumblebee can travel up to 6km daily to visit flowers – this is the equivalent of a person walking around the globe 10 times to get to the shops!
  • Bumblebees see in the ultra-violet range of the colour spectrum.
  • Different bees specialise on different types of flower and have different tongue lengths because of this – the garden bumblebee’s tongue is a whopping 12mm long, allowing it to probe into deep flowers to access nectar, while the honeybee’s tongue length is much shorter at 6.6mm meaning they forage on more open flowers.
  • Bees have smelly feet! They leave a temporary scent behind on the flower they have just visited as a sign to other bees that the nectar in that flower has already been taken, so the next bee visitor to that flower can simply avoid that flower until more nectar is produced, and doesn’t have to waste precious foraging time.

Thank you to Taylors of Harrogate for sending the press release with the information included in this post and the video and pictures of their luxury bee hotel. If you want to find out more about opening your own bee hotel or other ways that you can help the bees, click on the links below.

Links:

The Story of Bees with Taylors of Harrogate in partnership with Kew Gardens https://bees.taylorstea.co.uk/

BeeBristol is a not-for-profit project that works tirelessly to help make Bristol the most welcoming city for pollinators: http://www.beebristol.org/. They do this by working in partnership with local organisations, volunteers and community groups, and by planting wildflower meadows, which create habitat and forage. They also manage beehives across Bristol, whilst supporting all pollinators by engaging with the public at events, festivals, school visits and through art installations.

Taylors of Harrogate http://taylorstea.co.uk/

More links to bee-friendly activities:

Visit Bee kind http://www.beekind.bumblebeeconservation.org to score how bee-friendly your garden is and find out how to make it even friendlier for insect pollinators.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust bee walks http://www.beewalk.org.uk to learn how to identify and monitor your local bee population.

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24 thoughts on “Welcome to the luxury bee hotel

  1. Emma, So good to catch this in my reader this afternoon. I loved the video of the Bee Hotel.. 🙂 and delight in the bees in our Garden too.. We have had fox gloves lots of them this year and the bees have loved them. I was astounded to learn the facts of how far the bee travels.. Amazing little miracle workers. Where would we be without them
    I hope that your hive is doing well, and now I am here I will catch up with your blog a little, it seems ages since I was here, Apologies for that.
    Hugs Sue

    • Oh me too Sue! It has been a strange and interesting summer so far, with much to catch on your blog also! I’m glad your garden has been blessed with foxgloves this year, those beautiful bell flowers often seem to me like perfectly made B&Bs for bees 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the video, it looks like a lot of fun for bees. Just off out now on another job, but an evening kept free for blog reading tonight! Hugs, Emma

  2. I love the luxury bee hotel. They make mine look like the low end of the camping option. I did get a bee gym for the honey bees though but I have not used it this year. Amelia

    • Mine too! Although the mason bees appear to have preferred to nest in our two old sheds rather than the bug mansion. So we’re keeping the two old sheds rather than taking them down to put up a new one. I’m intrigued by a bee gym – is that to get rid of varroa? You’ll have to tell me how the bees like it 🙂

      • I did not give the bee gym a proper trial but it did not reduce the varroa count in the hive it was placed in. Trust the mason bees to make their own choice of residence. Amelia

  3. So cute! I saw what I think was my first squash bee this morning positively covered with pollen as it visited the pumpkin and butternut squash flowers. Then this evening a dazzling metallic green sweat bee buzzed our Happy Hour on the deck. They really can do well in cities given the resources, though a fancy hotel like that might be a bit much. 😀

    • I love sweat bees though haven’t seem anything nearly as exotic as yours in the garden. A squash bee sounds adorable! We’ve been working hard to make our garden a sanctuary for bees by planting lots of bee-friendly flowers to bloom all year round, siting bee baths, a bug mansion and lots of little shelters for bumble bees to dart when it rains. The luxury bee hotel looks lots of fun – it has inspired me to make a beautiful bee hotel project next time my niece and nephew visit 🙂

  4. Fiona has also asked me to blog about the hotel, so I probably will soon to help spread the buzz – though my post will be nowhere near as well-written and researched as yours! You’re right, bees do deserve a holiday in luxurious surroundings.

    • Bees do deserve a holiday particularly after a summer like this year! 😉 All the information is in Fiona’s press release – I’m looking forward to showing the bee hotel pictures to my niece, she already likes to make flower petal beds for bees to rest on 🙂

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  6. I saw your post from the WP reader, but did not comment at the time. I watched the video and the hotel has so many cute things to attract the bees. Also, I concur on more variety of bees in urban areas, my garden can attest to that. What they might not say in your area, I can say for my area, the meadows are very dry and brown here with no or very little rain for 5 months. Bees go where there are flowers and urban gardens are so helpful for them. I like my little ground dwelling bees too. I don’t dig in the garden or use pesticides/herbicides. I will be in London in a week and will see first hand your “English” bees. I wonder if they have a Cockney accent? I will have to strike up a conversation with one! 😀

    • You’re in London? When and where? It’d be lovely to meet up 🙂

      The bee hotel is delightful. I wonder if it will appeal to all bees from bumbles and honeys to solitaries? And maybe a few other insects too 😉

      I love ground dwelling bees though don’t see too many in our garden – this year seems to have been difficult for pollinators in our area – but we do have a lot of baby frogs so currently also a no-mow garden!

      Yes, the stats above from Taylor’s suggest gardens must provide a pleasant respite for bees inbetween seasonal flowering times in fields and meadows. There are so many beautiful gardens in the UK that I’ve seen from Yorkshire to London to Cornwall, let’s hope bees get a nice welcome in whichever town or village they visit.

      • Hi Emma. I am in London 3 August – 5 Aug. Then two more days, but we will be traveling with a group by then. From 3 August to 7 Aug.we are at the Tower Hotel, St. Catherine’s Way. Ph. 011 44845 305 8335 (I know this is international, but not sure where you start to “dial”), give me a call (I have a cell too, but would give you that number after the call to the hotel). I would love to meet you and see the bees. Not sure if the reservation is under Brok or Landree. It could be under Grand Circle Travel though. I am so excited to see your great city. I am afraid we won’t have enough time to see all the wonderful sights it offers. My friend Barbara, has been to London before, so at least she will help with the planning. Emily told me about a few sights to see at Kew. Can’t wait.

      • 3-5 Aug in the diary then. I’ll call hotel when you arrive to leave message and will try to arrange a meetup around your plans. How exciting! And have a safe journey here 🙂 so much to see and do. I grew up in London and still I love it!

      • I am sure to love it too. Love to see the bee hotel. What a great idea, as an architect, I should build one here. Great, leave me a message/directions and I can text you back about a time we can be there.

  7. Love this bee hotel. We make a range of concrete bee hotels for solitary bees which can be used in building, now I’m wondering how we can add a spa!!

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