There’s something living in my bee hotel. It’s not a bee.

Written by Helen Beecher Bryant

What’s not to get about a ‘bee’ hotel? The clue’s in the name, surely. Some months ago, as part of a virtual Rainbows and Brownies activity, Sammy and I decided to make a bee hotel. We’re YouTubers now – you can watch the video here if you have 14 minutes to spare. A lot of people watched that as part of our recent festival #SammyLand2020 – I only posted it to work out how YouTube works, it wasn’t part of the festival, but hey, what’s not to like about a squirrel making a bee hotel?

I read up on bees before making my bee hotel – they are for solitary bees, not bees that live in hives. Solitary bees routinely seek bee hotels – plush Ritz-type situations are available in B&Q and similar outlets, or you can make yourself a Travelodge version like Sammy and I did in the video.

I religiously checked my bee hotel for residents – it was about as well patronised as the Hedgehog Home which Sammy and I lovingly created – that’s a Brownie UMA and you can watch that here, although I realised afterwards that I had accidentally edited out a section which turned out to have been deleted, hence there’s a chunk missing, not that anyone has noticed. In other news – Sammy and I are still waiting for a hedgehog.

One long lockdown day, I watered my thirsty accidental tomato, which now looks more like a mutant beanstalk when, having given up hope of a bee rocking up in need of budget accommodation, I went to check on my bee hotel.

Behold, it was occupied! But there were no bees to behold. One of my Brownie parents sent me a picture of her Brownie’s bee hotel with resident bee, though I suspect it may have been photoshopped, and we all know that that is not ok.

A wily spider had taken the liberty of weaving a giant web across every entrance to my multi-faceted ‘bee’ hotel and had decided to move in. He’s still there two weeks later.

Sometimes things which we lovingly built for one purpose end up being used for another. Sometimes things we do with the very best of intentions end up meeting another need that we hadn’t even considered. Keen as I am to get back to face-to-face guiding, we cannot know exactly what it will look like. What we do know is that we must be flexible, open-minded, caring and above all, embrace the unexpected.

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