How to build a bug hotel

How to build a bug hotel

Discover our top tips for building a 5 star bug hotel
Forest Holidays


A good Bug Hotel will bring in lots of different types of mini beasts, like ladybirds, bees, woodlice, spiders and even frogs. You might even get hedgehogs coming to stay on the ground floor. 

Here are some of our tips for building a 5 star bug hotel!

Build your own Bug Hotel

There are lots of different ways to build a Bug Hotel! This is just one example. The one you build could be very different, depending on the type of materials you can find to create the habitat for different bugs. 

Building your hotel should be fun, free and not too much effort! If you build a big hotel you'll need to find lots of material to fill it so it stays warm and cosy for the insects! Start small and use what you can find - you can always expand the hotel over time.


1. Find a suitable spot

A flat, level surface is perfect. Shady or in sunlight is fine - it just means different bugs might prefer the rooms you create. Make sure it's away from vegetable patches - you don't want slugs visiting! 

2. Build the basic structure

As you build the layers of your hotel keep checking that it’s level, doesn’t wobble and is safe to have in your garden.

Use bricks with holes, sideways on and with old bamboo pushed in. This will provide a safe place for bees - one of the bugs that plays a valuable role in our ecosystem and is most under threat. 

3. Fill in the gaps

Use lots of natural materials to start plugging some of the gaps, creating lots of nooks and crannies for the bugs to crawl around. Make sure you have a mix of the below, so you attract lots of different visitors:

  • Deadwood, loose bark, pine cones and branches
    Brings Woodlice, beetles, ladybirds, fungi, lichen, centipedes
  • Tubes - whether its staws, drain pipe, bamboo, or old kitchen rolls tubes!
    Helps Solitary bees (Leafcutter, red mason), spiders
  • Larger bricks and stones so there are gaps for bigger creatures like
    Great for frogs and toads 
  • Dry leaves and sticks
    The perfect place for Lacewings and even hedgehogs

Always ask before using anything so that you don't have to remove it later on and disturb the bugs' sleep!

4. Add a roof

This can be as simple as some old roof tiles, planks of wood, or more bricks, covered in old roofing felt. What you need is something to keep the weather out! 

Add some rubble and soil on top and you might find some wildflowers can grow here. This adds even more food for pollinating insects, so give a green roof a go. 

And that's it. Your Bug Hotel will then be ready to welcome guests. Happy hotel building - we hope you get plenty of exciting visitors!

Who's checking into the bug hotel?

Why not keep a record of the bugs using your hotel at home, and the next time you come on a Forest Holiday you can see if your guests are different to ours.

Ask your Forest Ranger to tell you more about what your insects get up to and where they go and compare notes from your garden and the forest.

Bug hotel foundations hand drawn image
Tubes inside bricks hand drawn image
Tubes with forest material hand drawn image
Finished bug hotel hand drawn image

Illustrations provided by kind permission of Rachel Boulton