Building a Bug Hotel

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In this fun project, you will make an insect hotel to welcome different types of creature into your garden.

Eager to look after birds in your back garden? Why not take a look at our next project, building a bird feeder?

Insects are an integral part of the ecosystem in your garden and are very important both for plant growth and for pest control. Learn to accommodate them by building this insect hotel as a family.

Voice-over by volunteer Mollie Keane

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Welcoming biodiversity into your home

Building an insect hotel

In this video, we will learn learn how to build an insect hotel. This is a small house made up of different compartments which are open at the front and which can accommodate a wide range of insects.

They are an essential part of biodiversity and invaluable assistants for the eco-friendly gardener. Ladybirds, lacewings and earwigs are, for example, very good at getting rid of aphids, whereas other insects such as wild bees and butterflies contribute towards pollinating trees and plants.

In order to attract insects to your garden and maintain the balance of the ecosystem, we suggest building an insect hotel, which will serve as a place for the insects to hibernate and for the larvae to develop.

To make one like this example, we will need:

Materials

Planks of untreated wood, screws or nails, dry pine cones, bamboo stems, twigs, straw, sticks roughly 3 centimeters wide (1.2 inches) and 9 centimeters long (3.5 inches), dead leaves, wire mesh, and bricks.

Equipment:

We will also need:

A clamp, a tape measure, a pencil, a set square, a saw, and a drill or hammer.

Here, we will construct an insect hotel that is 53.5 centimeters tall (21 inches), 40 centimeters wide (15.8 inches), and 10 centimeters deep (4 inches), containing 6 compartments.

- Height: 53.5cm

- Width: 40cm

- Depth: 10cm

6 compartments

Measure, cut and assemble the 12 planks of wood to the correct dimensions. Here you will need:

A board 40 by 10 centimetres (15.8 by 4 inches) for the bottom;

two boards 36 by 10 centimeters (14 by 4 inches) for the interior horizontal partitions;

and two others measuring 12 by 10 centimetres (4.8 by 4 inches) for the interior vertical partitions;

one board, 15 by 10 centimeters (6 by 4 inches), for the upper partition;

and another measuring 15 by 15 centimetres (6 by 6 inches) for the butterfly compartment.

One triangular board, 51.5 by 40 by 30 centimetres (20.3 by 15.8 by 12 inches), for the back panel; you could also use two planks measuring 51.5 by 20 by 30 centimetres (20.3 by 8 by 12 inches) if you don't have a plank large enough;

two boards, 28 by 10 centimeters (11 by 4 inches), for the sides;

As well as two final pieces of wood measuring 29.5 by 15 centimetres (11.6 by 6 inches) and 32 by 15 centimetres (12.6 by 6 inches), respectively for the sides.

Screw the sides to the base. If the wood you are using is dense, you can predrill the holes to avoid splitting.

Next, assemble the back panel of the hotel.

Now screw the first horizontal partition then attach the two vertical partitions. Next continue by assembling the second horizontal partition.

Screw the two sections of the roof to the structure then put in the final upper partition;

Finish by placing the small board, on which you will previously have drilled an oval hole of about 0.8 inches (2 centimeters diameter), using a drill and jigsaw.

We now have a small house with compartments which need to be filled.

To make sure the pine cones and dead leaves don't fall out of their compartments, cover the front side with wire netting with meshes of about 1 to 2 centimeters (0.4 to 0.8 inches) in diameter.

Before placing the small logs inside the insect hotel, drill holes of around 5 millimetres in diameter through them, providing solitary bees with space to deposit their eggs.

Finally, scatter the different materials throughout the compartments.

Your insect hotel is now finished! All that's left for you to do is set it up.

Ensure that the hotel is South or South-East facing, and stands half a metre (20 inches) off the ground, by resting on two large bricks for instance, so that it doesn't take in any moisture.

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