Have you ever wondered how to encourage more insects and minibeasts to your garden? They’re great for the soil and can deter harmful predators from destroying your crops & flowers, but where will they live? In an insect hotel!
The BBC Wildlife Magazine states that the average UK garden could be home to up to 2000 species of insects and minibeasts, prompting us to wonder where they’re all living?
Insects and minibeasts are great for the gardener as they help with pest control, but sadly some wild invertebrates and solitary honey bees are in decline.
How can we help?
Building insect hotels –large or small- in your garden or any area of outdoors space. They can help to provide a safe space for the little critters to grow and thrive, in turn helping conservation and your garden prosper!
Most insects and minibeasts prefer cool and damp places, but solitary honey bees like their homes in dry sunny spaces. Decide what type of insects you want to attract before building. Whichever you chose to build, make sure it has a firm base as the insect hotel can become heavy.
What materials does and insect hotel need?
Building insect hotels requires very little in the way of materials, most items can be found around the home, so feel free to recycle!
The most important part of your structure should be strong boxes that will washstand rain, an old birdhouse works perfectly for this and most have a roof to keep out the worst weather.
Fill your box (or boxes) with an assortment of twigs, recycled rolled up newspapers, wood chips, leaves, dead wood, and hollow reeds or bamboo. Blocks of wood with holes drilled through them also work well.
Different insects and minibeasts require different environments to live, so think about which critters you’d like to attract and tailor your insect hotel to suit… or make lots of hotels!
Alternative insect hotel ideas?
If you haven’t got the space for an insect hotel, or haven’t got the time to make one, you can help our insect friends too! Fruit and sugar water will attract butterflies to your garden and help the conservation of declining butterfly numbers. Leave out a small bowl with sliced fruit, such as oranges, bananas and pears, or attach larger fruit (like watermelon) to a stick for butterflies to feed from.