A Rosh HaShanah Family Activity: Make Your Own Bee Hotels

Jared Kaminsky

During Rosh HaShanah, we dip apples in honey to symbolize our hopes for a sweet new year. Honey is made by our good friends, the bees, who fly from flower to flower collecting nectar. They combine their saliva with the nectar to make delicious honey!  

First, here are five incredible facts about bees:

  1. A honeybee’s wings beat 200 times per second. 
  2. Honey has natural preservatives. Honey was found in the tombs in Egypt… and it was still edible.
  3. A hive of bees will fly the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect two lbs. of honey.
  4. Honey is the only food made by an insect that is eaten both by the insect and humans.
  5. Each honeybee has 170 odorant receptors, which means they have an amazing sense of smell.

In Judaism, we learn that taking care of animals is a mitzvahmitzvahמִצְוָהLiterally, “commandment." A sacred obligation. Jewish tradition says the Torah contains 613 mitzvot Mitzvot refer to both religious and ethical obligations. . The most important action we can take to help bees is to create habitats (homes) for them. There are bees who live in large groups, and some who live alone; most of the bees in North America, called solitary bees, live alone.

In this activity, we use a recycled toilet paper roll to make a home for bees. The toilet paper roll serves as the walls and roof of the home, while inside the roll are many cones. Solitary bees lay their eggs inside these cones, which help keep them safe and protected.


  • Toilet paper roll
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • 30-inch string


  1. Decorate the outside of the toilet paper roll however you wish. 
  2. Wrap a piece of paper around a pencil or marker to create a small tube. Tape it together so it does not unroll.
  3. Cut the paper tube to be the same length as your toilet paper roll.
  4. Slide the paper tube inside of the toilet paper roll.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4, creating additional tubes until the toilet paper roll is filled with them (as seen in photo). 
  6. Cut a 30-inch piece of rope or string. Tie inside the toilet paper roll (as seen in photo).
  7. Find a spot to hang your bee hotel on the branch of a tree.

Thank you for helping to take care of the bees! Next time you dip your apple and honey, think about the bees that made the honey.

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