People are being asked to start their own bee hotel as part of a science experiment.

Sussex University researchers want volunteers across the country to help them improve our understanding of bees and their favoured habitats.

They want people to sign up and send a picture of their bee hotel entrance once a month throughout the spring and summer.

The scientists will then be able to record how many holes in the bee hotels have been occupied, and by which type of bee, based on the substance that the bees use to block the holes. For example, red mason bees use clay, whereas blue mason bees use plant resin. 

The Argus: File image of a red mason beeFile image of a red mason bee (Image: Supplied)

The University of Sussex’s professor Dave Goulson who is leading on the project said: “This is a fun project suitable for anyone including children who have access to an outside space and an interest in encouraging wildlife.

"If we can get hundreds of volunteers to take part, we will be able to work out how to make bee hotels more effective and so help support our pollinators. Please join us.”

Professor Goulson said bee hotels can be easily made at home by drilling varying size holes into a block of wood to encourage species to nest.

Bee hotels can also be made from old tin cans or pieces of drainpipe filled with hollow plant stems, such as bamboo or leycesteria.  

A bee hotel is the insect equivalent to a birdhouse providing shelter and nesting sites for solitary bee species including mason bees, leafcutter bees and yellow-faced bees. The scientists said 250 out of the 270 species of bee in the UK are solitary and do not live in colonies like bumblebees or honeybees.  

The project is free to enter. Participants can register the details of their hotel on The Buzz Club website. 

Everyone who registers will also be automatically entered into a raffle to win a £250 voucher donated by The Wildlife Community.  

Running from March to September, the project is a collaboration between The Buzz Club, a science club at the university, and The Wildlife Community, a company which develops wildlife habitat products to enhance biodiversity.