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Insect Hotel

Insects and other minibeasts need safe spaces to shelter, hide from predators and raise their young. You can help them by building a bug hotel in your garden, as we have done at our plot.

What are the benefits of insect hotels?

Without insects, our gardens would just be dead pieces of land. Insects pollinate our plants, fight pests, attract other wild animals, and help break down organic matter. According to the Wildlife Trust, an average garden can harbour over 2,000 different types of beneficial insects. Find a shelter for them, and you will help Mother Nature and yourself.

If you feel you don’t have any interesting features in your garden, this may be the solution to this problem.

Insects are fascinating creatures. If you have an insect hotel, you can observe their behaviour and life cycle. Moreover, it is very therapeutic. Every aspect of owning an insect hotel, whether it’s building, observing or maintaining it, lowers your stress levels and keeps your mind active.

There are many different bugs that will use the hotel including bees, woodlice, ladybirds and spiders. The idea is to provide various nooks and crannies, crevices, tunnels and cosy beds. Depending on how you construct the hotel, you can also encourage frogs, toads and even hedgehogs.

How do you choose a suitable site?

The insect hotel needs to be level and on firm ground. Depending on where you place your hotel, you’ll get different residents, as some (like woodlice) enjoy cool, damp conditions, while others (such as solitary bees) prefer the sun. If you have vegetable beds, keep it a good distance away from them just incase you attract slugs!

How do you build a bug hotel?

If you have some bricks, wooden boxes or pallets to hand, you could build a multi-storey minibeast mansion.  Divide it into sections and stuff each part with different natural materials:

  • Deadwood and loose bark for creepy crawlies like beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice.
  • Holes and small tubes (not plastic) for solitary bees made out of bamboo, reeds and drilled logs (2-10mm in diameter).
  • Larger holes with stones and tiles, which provide the cool, damp conditions frogs and toads like – if you put these in the centre, you’ll give them a frost-free place to spend the winter (and they eat slugs!)
  • Dry leaves, sticks or straw for ladybirds (they eat aphids) and other beetles and bugs.
  • Corrugated cardboard for Lacewings (their larvae eat aphids, too).
  • You could even put a Hedgehog box into the base of the hotel.

When you think you’ve gone high enough, put a roof on to keep it relatively dry. Use old roof tiles (as we did) or some old planks covered with roofing felt.

Grow some wildflowers around the hotel to provide food for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects.