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 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.
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.