Make a Bug Hotel in Your Garden | How and Why You Should Build a Bug Hotel

Written by Shayle

Why not recycle and give bugs a safe home? Here’s how to make a bug hotel in your garden and why you should.

A hideaway can be hard for bugs to find in many gardens. Bug hotels are a great way to use up odd scrap materials you might have. Not only are bug hotels easy to make, but they are also educational and fun too. They are a fantastic way to engage with nature and the environment. This creative and completely natural activity is a way of supporting the creepy crawlies that we need for pollination from our back gardens.

Make a Bug Hotel in Your Garden | How and why You Should Build a Bug Hotel.

It’s up to you whether you would like to buy a ready-made one, make a super simple one or get elaborate and create a 5-star abode for bugs! They can be an attractive addition to your garden.

Why should I make a bug hotel?

Insects are increasingly at a loss for places to nest and hibernate due to mankind constantly expanding into their natural habitats. Making a bug hotel is a great way to provide shelter and a safe habitat for beneficial insects in your garden or outdoor space.

Forest Bug Hotel.

Many insects, such as ladybirds, lacewings, and solitary bees, are essential pollinators and natural pest controllers. By building a bug hotel, you can help support these insects and promote biodiversity in your local environment. Bug hotels can also be an exciting and educational addition to your outdoor space that children and adults can enjoy. The learning benefits are vast, and it is a great way to promote teamwork and social interaction.

When is the best time of year to make a bug hotel?

You can make a bug hotel any time of the year; however, we find Autumn the best for finding useful dry materials. This is also a great time as many insects will search for a place to protect themselves from changing weather and hibernate in Winter. It’s also a good idea to place the bug hotel in a location that is sheltered from harsh weather conditions such as strong winds and heavy rain.

5 bug hotel ideas

Bug hotel materials.
  1. Wooden pallet bug hotel: Stack wooden pallets on each other and fill the gaps with materials such as bamboo, twigs, and pinecones.
  2. Terracotta pot bug hotel: Fill terracotta pots with materials such as straw, hay, and moss and then stack them on top of each other.
  3. DIY bug hotel: Use a wooden box with different compartments and fill each compartment with materials such as bark, straw, and leaves.
  4. Tree trunk bug hotel: Hollow out a tree trunk and fill it with materials such as small logs, branches, and moss.
  5. Tin can bug hotel: Fill tin cans with materials such as bamboo, twigs, and dry grass and then stack them on top of each other.

What will I need to make a bug hotel?

Pretty garden bug hotel.

You can use hundreds of natural materials to make a bug hotel. Here are some of our suggestions:

  1. Old wooden pallets are great for making a solid structure and provide plenty of gaps to fill.
  2. Straw, dry leaves or dry grass.
  3. Moss, soil or sand.
  4. Pinecones, tree bark, or sticks.
  5. Bamboo canes.
  6. Woodchippings, logs or old pieces of wood.
  7. Old small garden pots, roof tiles or bricks.

Make sure to collect large leaves, branches, logs or some turf to place on top and keep your bug hotel as dry as possible. Keep materials natural and be wary of items that can harm animals.

How to make a bug hotel in your garden

Pallet bug hotel

Step One 

First, find the perfect spot for your bug hotel; make sure it is somewhere where the ground is firm and level to prevent pooling or flooding. Wherever you choose to put your bug hotel will affect the type of creatures you will get visiting it. Some will like your bug hotel to be damp and cool, while others will prefer dry and the sun’s warmth. Don’t build it too high; under 1 metre is excellent, and keep the structure as basic and stable as possible.

Start with your wooden pallet to make a base; you could strengthen the base with bricks around the corners. Continue building upwards with your bricks and pallets to create layers and a stable structure.

Step Two

Fill up the gaps! You want to create many small spaces for insects; they will love tunnels and crevices to make into their homes. Bark and wood are fantastic for encouraging spiders, beetles, and woodlice into your hotel. Bamboo canes are perfect for solitary bees as they love small holes. If you don’t have bamboo but plenty of old logs, drill holes into the logs. Dry leaves, sticks or straw are great for making a base similar to a woodland floor. Why not put a box for hedgehogs into the base of your hotel, too?

Give your bug hotel a sign or a name for a personal touch that children will love, and you're ready to meet your bug residents.

Step Three

When you’ve finished filling up the gaps inside your bug hotel you will be ready to give it a roof. A roof will help to keep your bug hotel suitably dry. You could use large branches with leaves, old roof tiles or wood, long logs or even some soil on top.

Give your bug hotel a sign or a name for a personal touch that children will love, and you’re ready to meet your bug residents.

Buy a ready-made bug hotel

If DIY is not your strong point but you still want a bug hotel in your garden, there are plenty you can buy, too, that only requires the perfect placement. We have picked a few of our favourites out for you to consider.

Natural Wood Insect House

Natural Wood Insect House.

Made of all-natural materials like pine wood, bamboo, and pine cones, this bug hotel provides different filling materials that cater to different needs and attract various bugs. The pointed roof is fitted with metal sheeting to protect the extra-large bee hotel from rain, reducing the moisture that enters the wood. You can place this anywhere in your garden. 

Buddy Wild Insect Hotel

Wild Insect Hotel

This insect hotel is crafted from natural wood, bamboo, and pine cones, making it an all-natural habitat for pollinator insects. You can hang it in your garden, on your patio, or even on your balcony. Butterflies, ladybirds, and other insects will feel right at home in this charming bug hotel.

Make & Paint Your Own Garden Bug Hotel

This kit comes with pre-cut wooden pieces and glue, so you don’t need any tools for assembly. You’ll also receive six bright paints to decorate your hotel and attract insects, such as ladybirds and bees.

What types of bugs will I find in a bug hotel?

The types of insects you can find in a bug hotel vary widely depending on the location and the materials used to create the hotel. Some expected guests include ladybirds, lacewings, beetles, bees, butterflies, and other small insects. Some bug hotels can also attract spiders, centipedes, and other arthropods. You might even get frogs or hedgehogs coming to stay.

Look after your bug hotel

Look after your bug hotel.

Sit back and enjoy watching the different species visiting your hotel. However, it will require a minor cleanup and maintenance to protect it from unwanted germs. A great time to do this is late in Spring, as your bug residents will probably have moved on after Winter. Consider replacing dry materials such as straw and leaves and adding fresh ones. Give your bricks or stones a brush out and a general tidy around to have it ready for another year.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about why you should make a bug hotel in your garden; let us know in the comments below if we have inspired you to build your own bug hotel. Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook and Instagram so we can see your creations!

Further reading: Sloane & Sons Garden Benches: How to Build a Bug Hotel

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