Are you a nature lover by heart and a gardener by hobby? Excited to learn more about the concept of insect hotels? Great! An insect hotel is a great way to offer a sanctuary to beneficial insects, especially pollinators. Insects provide many benefits to the ecosystem through pollination and are also a food source for birds. Making a DIY insect hotel is great family project with so many benefits!
All insect hotels are not created equal. In fact, even the terminology can be confusing as some prefer terms like insect condominiums, hostels, refuges, or bug hotels. Imagine it will look like a large bird house with no front on it – custom made for your location and preference!
- Learning about enhancing the family garden with an insect hotel begins with having a plan about what kind of structure is best for your space and how to bring in beneficial insects.
- For your first DIY insect hotel, think small to get started.
- Later you can make multiple units housing one species rather than a single large one that attempts to host every bug species on earth, creating potentially conflicting environments.
- Make a rough sketch of the design of your DIY insect hotel and plan the dimensions for the sides and the “rooms.”
Build your own and build it right. Making your own assures you a measure of control and resourcefulness as well as peace of mind that your DIY insect hotel will be made of natural, untreated wood and without chemicals such as varnish, paint, and wood protectant that will repel insects. Use recycled or natural materials from your garden for sustainability. If the plan is to drill tubes into blocks, tubes should be smooth and splinter-free. Insect hotels that are built with a sturdy solid back and roof/shelter to protect from rain will last longer.
Grab the kids and learn how to make an insect hotel together!
Pick the right spot for the yard. Insects like bees, ladybirds, lacewings, spiders, and friends prefer a south/southeast-facing location. Frogs and water-based insects prefer a north-facing, shaded area. Follow these few steps.
- Build a strong foundation on a few recycled cinder blocks. Set these in a flat area first. Or plan to hang your DIY insect hotel on a fence post at least eight centimetres from the ground.
- Collect your wood from scraps or purchase non-chemically treated wood for the outside frame and the inside “rooms.” Best to use salvaged or recycled materials to build the walls and roof of your hotel – old shelving planks, drink bottles, pallets, pipes, you name it.
- Collect any and all interior packing, such as sticks, twigs and stems, straw, bamboo stalks, rolled up cardboard, bricks, and hay.
- Assemble all and then tack a layer of metal netting or chicken wire over the face of the hotel to keep out the birds!
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