Having a bug hotel in your garden, allotment or at school is a great way to see and look after wildlife during the winter. And by encouraging the right kind of bugs and insects we can even get help from them in pollinating our flowers and keeping down unwanted pests like aphids and slugs when the spring and summer come. Here I share with you some of my best tips for building a 5 star bug hotel.
Our bug hotel at home, built with 20 bricks, 2 roof tiles and some old planks of timber
This is just one example of a bug hotel, but the one you build could be very different, depending on the type of materials you can find. Remember to have lots of different types of habitat materials and that building your hotel should be fun and free! It’s also really important to remember that if you build a big hotel you will need to find a lot of material to fill it, as no insect wants a draughty and frosty holiday!
My top tips for building your bug hotel
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.
Get an adult to drill holes in the end of old logs so that the bugs can find the right sized house for the winter. Make sure you drill different depths and try different sized holes (from 2mm – 6mm) but don’t drill all the way through the log! Spiders in particular will love this – a safe haven with only one entrance to defend from predators.
Use bricks with holes, sideways on and with old bamboo pushed in. This will provide a safe place for bees, one of the bugs most under threat – and most important for our ecosystem
A great way to keep things together is to fit them into tubes that can be stacked in the hotel. Any tube will do, from an old kitchen roll inner to a short piece of drain pipe, but always ask before using anything as it would be a shame to spoil the bugs’ sleep because it needs to removed later! Elder and bamboo sticks, drinking straws and rolled corrugated cardboard all make great tube fillers and super habitats for bugs.
See who’s checking in to The Bug Hotel
We’re soon to be unveiling brand new bug hotels at all our Forest Holiday locations. They will be specially designed so that you can see the bugs and beasts that take up residence. It might be fun to 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 and you can ask the Forest Ranger to tell you more about what your insects get up to and where they go.
Happy hotel building – I hope you get plenty of exciting guests!
Illustrations provided by kind permission of Rachel Boulton