A hideaway can be hard for bugs to find in certain gardens. Bug hotels are a great way to use up odd scrap materials you might have. Why not recycle and give creepy crawlies a safe home? Here’s how to make a bug hotel in your garden and why you should.
Not only are bug hotels really easy to make, but they are also lots of fun too. You can make a bug hotel at any time of the year however we find a dry day in Autumn the best for scavenging materials. They are a fantastic way to fully 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 own back gardens.
It’s up to you whether you would like to buy a ready-made one, make a super simple one or get really elaborate and create a 5-star abode for bugs! They truly can be an attractive addition to your garden.
Why you should make your own bug hotel
Insects are increasingly at a loss for places to nest and hibernate due to mankind constantly expanding into their natural habitats. Large commercial farms and the loss of hedgerows, the borders to farms are some of the factors contributing to enormous expanses of habitat being lost. Making a bug hotel is sure to benefit lots of different insects such as woodlice, ladybirds, spiders etc. They will use your bug hotel as a safe home/shelter.
As we said earlier you can make a bug hotel at 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 be searching for a place to protect themselves from changing weather and hibernate in Winter.
Building a bug hotel is a deeply enriching hands-on activity that is suitable for a variety of age groups, young to elderly. The learning benefits are vast and it is a great way to promote teamwork and social interaction.
What you will need to make a bug hotel
There are hundreds of natural materials you can use to make a bug hotel. Here are some of our suggestions for items you can use to make a bug hotel with.
- Old wooden pallets are great for making a solid structure as well as providing plenty of gaps to fill.
- Straw, dry leaves or dry grass.
- Moss, soil or sand.
- Pinecones, tree bark, or sticks.
- Bamboo canes.
- Woodchippings, logs or old pieces of wood.
- Old small garden pots, roof tiles or bricks.
Make sure to collect large leaves, branches, logs or some kind of 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
First, find the perfect spot for your bug hotel, make sure that it is somewhere where the ground is firm and level to prevent pooling or flooding. Where ever you choose to put your bug hotel will have an effect on the type of creatures you will get visiting it. Some will like your bug hotel to be damp and cool others will prefer dry and the warmth of the sun. Don’t build it too high, under 1 metre is great and keep the structure as basic and as 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 as you go.
Fill up the gaps! You want to create lots of different small spaces for insects, they will love tunnels and crevices to make into their homes. Bark and wood are great for encouraging spiders, beetles, and woodlice into your hotel. Your Bamboo canes are perfect for solitary bees as they love small holes if you don’t have bamboo but plenty of old logs simply drill holes into the logs. Dry leaves, sticks or straw are great for making a base that will be similar to a woodland floor. Why not put a box for hedgehogs into the base of your hotel too?
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 on, old roof tiles or wood, long logs or even some soil on top as well.
Give your bug hotel a sign or even a hotel 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 require the perfect placement. We have picked a few of our favourites out for you to consider.
You can buy them here:
Look after your bug hotel
Sit back, and enjoy watching the different species visiting your hotel. However, it will require a little cleanup and maintenance every now and again to ensure that it is protected from unwanted germs. A great time to do this is late on in Spring as your bug residents will have probably moved on after Winter. At this time think about replacing dry materials such as straw and leaves and add fresh in instead. Give your bricks or stones a brush out and a general tidy around will 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 get building your own bug hotel.