How To Build A Bug Hotel

Finished bug hotel

It was a gorgeous day today and there was nowhere I’d rather have been than in my garden. Well, truthfully, I’d rather have been relaxing on a beach lounger, listening to the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean, but that wasn’t an option.

I sat in the sun and watched the bees that were busily collecting nectar from the pulmonaria flowers. I did a bit of rose pruning, removing old foliage that was infected with black spot, and tying in some stems on the climbing roses. Then I put up a hanging basket bracket and couple of new nest boxes (better late than never), with my husband spotting me while I was up the ladder. This whetted my appetite for a bit more DIY, and I turned my attention to a project that I’ve been considering for a while now.

The plan was to use a couple of pallets that I had stashed away last year to build a bug hotel. You’ll see bug hotels in most school gardens, allotments, in wildlife magazines, and all over Pinterest. So they’re old news really but still important if you want a garden that’s rich in wildlife. They provide a safe habitat and winter hibernation site for many invertebrates. And building one is fun way to get children interested in bugs and being outdoors.

Thanks to my dad, I am now the proud owner of a very good wood saw. This and a wireless drill/screwdriver were all the kit I need for this simple DIY project. I started by sawing each pallet into two pieces, and then stacked them, together with some old logs and a few bricks (liberated from our bricked up fireplace last autumn). Once I was happy with the structure, and sure it wasn’t going to topple over onto the children, I put a few screws in to join the layers securely. I may yet add another storey or two if I can get hold of another pallet.

When this part was done, I got the kids involved with stuffing the spaces with sticks, bamboo canes, pieces of bark and rolled up cardboard. There are still a few empty spaces which we’ll fill over time. You can use bundled up hay, prunings, pine cones, stacked roof tiles, logs drilled with holes (homes for solitary bees) and old pipes. There are lots of ideas on the Wild About Gardens website.

I’m planning to add a green roof eventually, and I’ll plant into the gaps and cracks with trailing, flowering plants, ferns and maybe a few bulbs. Hurrah for more planting opportunities!

My last job today was to make a little sign for our bug hotel. It’s rather twee but I’d say essential.

Filling the bug hotel

Bug hotel

Robin nest box