Build your own insect hotel

A garden full of animals is a healthy garden! We all know how important bees and other pollinating insects are, yet unbeknownst to most, our garden is an ecosystem in its own right where every inhabitant has a role to play.

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By building an insect hotel, you will be providing shelter to the many species that spend the winter in our gardens, whether they be adults, eggs or larvae. You will find that they quickly move into their weather-resistant shelter, provided that the structure meets a few ‘housing requirements’: it must be dry, quiet and sturdy.

Building an insect hotel is also a fun activity that will appeal to your little ones, and it will quickly become a great place to observe and learn about the natural world.

Tools and materials required

  • Wood saw
  • Drill
  • Scissors
  • Screws and nails
  • A wooden box (such as a wine box) or wooden planks assembled together to make a rectangular box.
  • Wooden planks for the roof
  • Tree bark
  • Choose from the following, according to what you own and which species you want to attract: broken up wood wool to attract ladybugs, broken tiles to attract spiders, vertically-placed wooden sticks to attract butterflies, dead leaves to attract Anthocoris (a small predatory bug), pierced wooden logs or reed mats to attract solitary bees, pinecones to attract lacewings.

How to make an insect hotel

  1. Grab your wooden box or make one from wooden planks. Next, make a roof from wooden planks; it should be the same width as the box but slightly different in length, in order to have a slightly longer side.
  2. Position the planks inside the hotel to separate the different compartments.
  3. Fill the structure with the various materials you have chosen: pieces of bark, a terracotta pot filled with pinecones, a bundle of wooden sticks (bound together with natural twine or raffia), birch log, reed mat, etc., then secure everything with bark.
  4. Place your insect hotel in a sunny south or south-east-facing spot (if possible), sheltered from the rain and drafts. Make sure the structure is stable.