In planning our new garden layout I was keen to encourage beneficial wildlife and considered building some sort of Bug Hotel. A little while later my husband was working on a property where the owner was having a clear out. He spotted a terracotta object which he thought might be of interest to me and brought it home. Although it looks like a piece of Lego it turned out to be a French wine rack component (They stack them in their Cellars). I quickly realised it would make a wonderful Insect Palace. What!?! Yes, you read that right, I turned a French wine rack into a Bug House! So this Post is to tell you all about How to make a Bug Hotel for your garden
Why you need a Bug Hotel in your Garden
Here at Dovewood, I try to be organic in my approach to gardening. In this day and age when there is less and less available to non-commercial gardeners in the way of chemical answers to Pests and Diseases. So it makes sense to encourage beneficial Insects. From a health and planet welfare point of view it is a must. There has been a rising interest in using natural responses to the battles that rage in the garden. And how to prevent damage to our precious blooms and crops.
I read somewhere that it takes approximately five years for the ecological balance to return to newly landscaped sites. So anything we can do to encourage the friendly, beneficial insects is good. Even in a small garden there needs to be an ecological balance.
Basically we need the beneficial bugs to counter attacks from unwelcome guests. The best way to promote this is by providing the habitat needed by our little friends. We have had first-hand experience of this. Having stripped the north garden right back to a blank canvas, we then landscaped the whole site. In effect we had evicted friend and foe from the Insect world of our garden. Last year we suffered some devastating plant destruction as the less welcome insects were the first to move back in. Whole plants were stripped of vegetation.
So we need to encourage beneficial pollinators such as Bees. Open flowers that Bees love, is a start. Companion planting to distract the enemy is good. But overwintering places for our little friends means that they come, they stay and they multiply. We need Ladybirds, Hoverflies and Lacewings (amongst others) in our gardens.
How to make a Bug Hotel
If you take a look at my Pinterest Board Garden Wildlife Habitats you will see plenty of examples of Bug Hotels. They are made from all sorts of things! Many utilise bits of masonry and wood that were probably just lying around. This is another plus for the planet as things are repurposed instead of being sent to Landfill. Size doesn’t matter. The Bug Hotel merely needs to be practical for the space you have. Breeze blocks, drainage pipes, bricks and tiles can be stacked in a out of the way corner. The Hotel framework should be filled with bug friendly sticks, grass, straw, hollow stems, pine cones, even blocks of wood with holes drilled into it. The choice is yours!
Children can be encouraged to help with this project. Try using an old mug that filled with sticks and hung on a branch – make sure the mug is angled so that it doesn’t fill with rainwater.
Where and How to Build Your Bug Hotel
Depending what size your Insect habitat is, there are many possibilities for locating it.
- In Trees, if it is a small box or Mug hanging on a wall if it is within a frame.
- Try stacking it near the compost bins if it is large or going to be somewhat untidy.
- A tucked away corner means that the wildlife is not disturbed
- But if the Bug Hotel is situated where the beneficial insects are most needed, then placing it nearer to that location makes sense.
- Avoid using a framework or site that might become waterlogged – you don’t want the “wee beasties” to drown.
- Any cool damp shadey place will be appreciated by other creatures too, so expect to find toads or grass-snakes sheltering near it.
- The gap at the behind ours is probably inhabited by the Toads we have in the garden when they are not on Slug patrol.
And if your Bug Hotel is a thing of beauty why hide it away? Ours has become the focal point of our Kitchen Garden, and a talking point with our human visitors! We had the wine bottle unit built into a brick base. This was topped with a slab of recycled Indian sandstone. We made a hypertufa trough to the right dimensions to sit neatly on top of it
Another happy little project for you to do. It doesn’t need to be as complicated or as permanent as ours and your garden will be all the better for it. Why not add “Make a Bug Hotel” to your Garden Task Sheet? You do have your FREE PRINTABLE don’t you? No? Then get your copy by clicking on the image below