Create an insect hotel

Create a high-rise hotel from natural materials, and welcome an array of creepy crawlies!

 

Keeping a bug hotel near your garden ensures that your herbs, veggies, and flowers will never be lacking in pollinators, and contributes to the health of your local ecosystem. It’s also one of the most delightful ways to while away a Saturday with your little one!

Instructions

1. Choose the right ground to build upon.

Work together with you child to choose the right ground to build upon. Most insects like cool, moist conditions, so the shady area next to a hedge or under a tree will work splendidly. Get your child to pretend they are a real architect, and explain why they should always build on solid foundations, and think about the long-term. Many of their insect guests will want to feast and sleep well into winter, so help them to choose a space that will stand up to all weathers, if you can.

2. Create structure.

Together, layer some large sticks or pallets on top of each other, placing larger ones at the bottom. If wobbly; secure each stick/pallet to the one below it using string, wire or pull ties. The hotel can be as short or tall as your child likes. However, the more layers there are, the more materials they can play with, and the more diverse their guests will be.

3. Fill the gaps.

There are no rules as to how you fill the empty spaces, but here are some suggestions to talk through with your child:

Dead wood

Dead wood is ideal for wood-boring beetles, such as the majestic stag beetle and their larvae. It also supports fungi, and is loved by centipedes and woodlice, known to burrow beneath bark.

Hollow stems, canes, and holes

Drilled into blocks of wood, these are all ideal spots for solitary bees to lay their eggs. They like warm, bright spots, so place these on the sunniest side of the insect home.

Stone and tiles

These provide cool, moist conditions for frogs and newts. These are best placed towards the ground, on the shadiest side of the hotel.

Hay and straw

Hay and straw give insects a good place to burrow and hibernate.

Dry leaves

These can provide homes for most insects, just like leaf litter on the forest floor. Ladybirds hibernate here over winter – and they’re great for eating aphids that could otherwise wreak havoc on your plants.

Rotting wood and bark

This is where beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice love to be.

Corrugated cardboard rolled up inside a plastic bottle

This will attract lacewings, who are great at eating up pesky garden pests.

  • Cost
  • Cheap
  • Time Needed
  • Half a day
  • You will need
  • Wooden pallets, assortment of natural materials (eg twigs, wood chips, rolled up paper, leaves, hollow reeds, cardboard tubing)
  • Skills developed
  • Creativity, perseverance, logic
  • Perfect for
  • Architects and eco-warriors