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It’s a bug’s life!

Bug hotels are easy to make, can be assembled from all manner of found, recycled, or up-cycled materials, and can provide a welcoming home for all sorts of insects. With autumn approaching they also provide a secure hibernation habitat.

It’s important to make the effort to create a garden that is as insect friendly as possible.  Not only do insects provide food for birds, they eat pests that damage vegetables and plants, help breakdown rotting plant and fruit debris and are essential for pollination. They don’t just make the garden more interesting, they help it to thrive. 

Bug hotels are big news this year - Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower shows staged incredible creations, which are particularly good for attracting wildlife to an urban environment.

These environmentally-friendly insect abodes are a great way to re-cycle and transform old pallets, as well as garden debris which may otherwise end up on the compost or to reuse old or damaged building materials – what’s more it’s easy, fun and you will have literally created a ‘home made by you’. 

Bosch Home and Garden give tips on how to create a 5*hotel your garden bugs will want to check-in to.

Decide how you are going to create the structure of your hotel

Old pallets or off-cuts of wood in various widths and lengths can be transformed to make a great structure to begin your build.  Stacked slate shingles also make a perfect protective roof for any hotel.

Set out the tools you might need for the project  

It doesn’t take much, but some helpful items include a pencil, a carpenter’s square, screws, a drill and a saw.  Bosch’s compact cordless Easycut 12 mini-saw  and nifty IXO cordless screwdriver are great little hand-held tools perfect for small jobs around the garden like this.  However for sawing large items like pallets make sure you chose the right size saw for the job.  With Bosch’s compact jigsaw you could even add some personalised design touches to your bug home.

Let your imagination go wild

As for the contents of the rooms, there are no rules but you will need lots of materials for all the different types of insect friends that may want to visit. With a little research and a good imagination, many of the items can be found in your own garden:

  • Dead wood and loose bark are perfect for both larvae and adult beetles, centipedes and spiders.
  • Tunnels, such as bamboo canes, hollowed-out cornstalks, bricks or holes drilled into wood are welcoming nesting sites for solitary bees.
  • Hay and straw create the perfect hibernation site for many beneficial garden insects.
  • Dry sticks and leaves create an area similar to the forest floor, providing areas to hide.
  • A stone on the bottom provides a cool, damp area that frogs and toads will find comfortable.
  • Corrugated cardboard rolled up like a tube can be a home for many bugs.

Bug hotels can be a charming focal point, a perfect upcycling/recycling project as well as an inviting habitat for your garden creatures. Limited only by your imagination, create your design, which can be as big or small as you want, by searching your shed or garage for unused items like broken bricks and old flowerpots that will furnish and make inviting rooms in your bug hotel. Your completed residence will hopefully encourage beneficial insects to make it their home.

Find inspiration and guidance, project ideas, tricks and tips for all areas of DIY and gardening to help make your house a home visit