Insect or bug hotels are constructed from a
variety of natural materials, each material shaped and sized to
cater to the specific needs of a specific type of insect. Most
insect hotels are constructed in several different sections, each
section providing nesting facilities and offering shelter or
refuge for a different type of insect.
With some help for our little friends
Insect hotels provide a much needed home to pollinators and pest
controllers. Urbanization and a growing preference for tidy
gardens, lawns and a lack of dead wood have decreased the habitat
for the likes of wild bees, spiders and ladybugs. Insect hotels
can harbor numerous beneficial insects as well as amphibians. Some
may like a damp environment while others prefer to stay dry.
Ladybugs like to hibernate during winter in piles of dry twigs and
leaves, which you can provide for them in your insect hotel. The
good news is it does not have to costs you an arm and a leg to
build an insect hotel, just a little of your time and effort.
The bugs aren’t that fussy as long as they have got somewhere to
bed down and lay their eggs, so you can go as fancy or as simple
as you like. Just remember never use chemically treated or
impregnated wood and lumber for your construction as these
materials can be extremely harmful for insects as well as for your
garden in general.
A proper habitat
Besides nesting sites there are a few additional resources that
are beneficial for a healthy insect population in gardens. A
source of water, over-wintering sites, and shelter from the wind
are important in attracting a diversity of beneficial insects.
Areas of bare ground are the preferred habitat for most native
bees, areas with clay provide a resource for mud nest-building
predatory wasps as well as “mud-puddling” butterflies. Brush and
leaf piles, and bunch grasses are loved by over-wintering insects
and trees or pieces of log with loose bark provide a wonderful
winter shelter for butterflies and other insects.
Insect hotels occasionally require some maintenance as diseases or
pests, such as mites, can become an issue after a few years. Some
hotel builders prefer to completely change the filler materials
every two years. Most pest and disease problems can be reduced by
making small, disposable sections, so you can place new infill
materials in the same location for insects that use the shelter
year after year.