Non Toxic, Non Stinky Options for Bird Houses and Bee Hives?

We’ve chattered quite a bit about bee keeping here, so I’m wondering if anyone has tried their hand at bee frames, bird houses, bat houses or bug hotels yet? I’d like to build some of these projects, but I’m worried about whether they’ll be safe and/or if these creatures will accept them?.

This thread touches on some of my concerns:

Also, some birds can be super sensitive to dust and odors. With that in mind, what’s the best way to mitigate odor without replacing it with harsh chemicals? I’d hate to build a pretty-yet-deadly home for my pollinators :wink:

Has anyone here used a laser to create projects like these? If so did anyone successfully take up residence?


Generally, I’ve found that a couple of days outside and in the sun pretty much eliminates the odor, especially if you lightly sand the edges. Perhaps a bit of beeswax rubbed in after the odor abate?

I can check with our staff entomologist, but usually wildlife is conditioned to avoid harmful environments. Obvious exception of hostile deceivers like bug zappers, bait traps, etc. If they are noxious, critters tend to avoid em.

… Cue series of responses of “… My danged dawg up and died after drinking antifreeze…”


Yep, that’s my experience as well. I’m just not sure how sensitive critters might be to such things?

Could you please, if you happen to remember? I’m probably worrying too much, but I’d rather be too cautious than not enough.

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Bees associate a burning smell with forest fires (who would have thunked it). This is why old-style beekeepers use a smoker. The bees smell the smoke and gorge on honey to prepare for a move to a new location if their hive is burnt out. A bee full of honey is basically too blissed out to be aggressive and sting.

Still: 2 of my hives were laser cut (not by me) and the bees have no problems with them at all… on the other hand i do not recall and ‘laser cut smell’ when i first got the hives.


I’m in California where it’s now legal for humans to do the exact same thing :laughing:


Technically, they aren’t blissed out, they are filling their stomachs so they can move if they have to, I imagine it’s verry stressful. I know a lot of beekeepers that work without smoke at all so they don’t stress the bees.

Are you sure there isn’t a Prop ## somewhere on the books against that due to it causing cancer in large amounts? I’m pretty sure everything causes cancer in large amounts in California…

When you have only a few hives you can go slow and the bees don’t mind too much at least when there is nectar to bring it. You only use a little smoke and I have never seen a significant number of bees tank up on honey. I think that it mostly disturbs their olfactory senses and draws their attention away from the fact that you have remove the roof of their house and sticking your hands in.

That wild bees favor the burned out hollow parts of trees would seem a willingness to be around the burnt wood though I suppose they prefer it aged a bit so less smell.