Build a bug hotel
Help the wildlife in your garden find a safe place to hide by creating a multistorey bug hotel, perfect for a wide array of different native beasties.
Encouraging pollinators, invertebrates, small mammals and amphibians into your garden will help to support a healthy and biodiverse ecosystem, and you can have lots of fun watching your wildlife neighbours when they’re out and about.
A bug hotel is also a great accompaniment to a garden pond. To find out how to build your own tiny pond click here.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Building a bug hotel can be a great way to use the odds and ends you have at home and garden. Be creative and imaginative, a bundle of sticks, old bricks or slate tiles could make a perfect home for wildlife.
You could use any of the following or add your own ideas,
- Pieces of timber
- Hollow bamboo canes (cut into short lengths)
- Bundles of sticks
- Pine cones
- Dry leaves
- Old clay pots
- Logs (rotten and fresh)
STEP BY STEP
1. Build up your materials collection
Your hotel is going to be completely unique, so collect all the materials you can find together to see what you have to work with. The more texture you can give your hotel the more wildlife you might attract and it looks great for us humans too.
2. Find the right spot
To make your hotel suitable for a variety of different creatures, they’ll need a few different environments. Woodlice will enjoy a dark, cool, damp space whereas solitary bees love to be warm and dry.
Try to find a spot in your garden that has both shade and sun. Your hotel will be multi-layered so your lower floors could be shaded and damper while your top floors get direct sunlight and will stay drier. West or south facing is best, and the area should be as flat as possible.
3. Build your foundations
As you add more material your hotel is going to get heavy, so make sure the ground you are building your hotel on is flat, well drained and stable.
Have a look at your materials collection, you will need bricks or strong timbres to build a solid base frame.
4. Add the floors
With a strong base you can start adding ‘floors’. Think about which creatures are going to use each floor. Use soil, rotting logs, old pine cones and moss near the bottom for insects that like a cool, damp place. You could even create a bigger hollow for a hedgehog or a toad.
Further up the hotel you should use drier materials such as bundles of twigs, bamboo or straw, handfuls of dry leaves and even dry logs with holes of different sizes drilled in (an adult can help you with this).
Surround each floor with more bricks or pieces of timber to keep the structure strong and fill in the gaps with your materials.
Don’t make your hotel too high though as you want it to be a strong, stable structure that can’t be knocked or pulled over.
5. Give it a roof
To keep your hotel dry and shaded top your structure off with a roof. You can use old slate tiles, timber slats, or roofing felt. Make sure that your roof and floors are secured down so they can’t be caught in strong winds.
6. Decorate your hotel
When your hotel is built you could paint it with bright colours or plant pollinator friendly plants nearby to attract inhabitants. As always don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re finished.
7. Keep it clean
Like us, some creatures don’t like to live in a messy, dirty house (although other creatures love it). Each year check on your bug hotel and make any necessary repairs. Replace any organic materials that is rotten, especially in the upper floors, and give it a sweep out.
Your bug hotel can be for life not just for lock-down.
8. Share your bug hotel
Take a picture of your wonderful creation and show us!