Bug hotel’s provide a safe shelter for all sorts of different mini beasts such as solitary bees, ladybirds and woodlice.
The best bug hotels have lots of small spaces in different shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Building a larger bug hotel will also encourage other creatures into your garden such as frogs and toads and even hedgehogs.
There are lots of different types of bug hotels, from large structures built from pallets to small wooden boxes or terracotta pots stuffed with hollow sticks, straw and moss.
Where to put your bug hotel
You’ll get different residents depending on where you put your bug hotel. Some mini beasts like cool, damp conditions and others like it warm and dry. To attract as many different mini beasts as possible you could put your bug hotel in a place where some of the hotel will catch the sun, but the rest will be in the shade – such as under a tree or near a hedge.
How to build a bug hotel
What you’ll need
There are so many different materials you can use. It will depend on how big you want to build your bug hotel and who you want to build it for.
For the Structure: Use Old wooden pallets, wooden crates or planks of wood.
Other Materials: Strips of wood, straw, moss, dry leaves, woodchips, old terracotta pots, old roofing tiles, bricks, old logs, bark, pine cones, sand, soil, hollow bamboo canes, dead hollow stems cut from shrubs, cardboard.
Building the bug hotel
To build your bug hotel your’ll need to create a stable structure first.
Creating your structure with pallets.
1. Lay the first pallet on the ground, making sure it’s stable and doesn’t wobble. Choose the largest pallet as your base.
2. Place the second pallet on top of the first. Secure this pallet to the one underneath using string, pull ties or wire or even screwing them together.
3. Keep adding pallets, making sure each one is secured to the one below, until your bug hotel is at a height your are happy with.
Other ways to create a structure
You could also use old wooden crates. If you’re using more than one crate make sure you secure them to each other so that the structure is stable before filling with materials. Another alternative is to build a structure out of wood.
Filling the structure
Once you’ve got a stable structure it’s time to fill it with different materials. Depending on who you want to attract to your bug hotel will depend on what materials you choose.
- Beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice like dead wood and loose bark.
- Solitary bees like holes and small tubes (not plastic) made out of bamboo, reeds and drilled logs.
- Frogs and toads like larger holes with stones and tiles, which provide the cool, damp conditions. If you put the tiles/stones in the centre of your bug hotel you’ll give them a frost-free place to spend the winter.
- Beetles, such as ladybirds, like dry leaves, sticks or straw.
- Lacewings like corrugated cardboard.
- You could even put a hedgehog box into the base of the hotel!
Alternative Bug hotels
What you’ll need: Logs, sticks, dead leaves
How: Log piles are easy to make. Pile up sticks and larger logs in a damp, shady area of your garden. Stuff dead leaves in the nooks and crannies between the logs.
Where: A damp shady area.
Who’ll come stay: Centipedes, woodlice and beetles like to burrow into decaying wood. You may even spot birds, frogs and hedgehogs looking for food among the logs.
What you’ll need: Hollow bamboo canes or dry, hollow plant stems and a container such as a wooden box or terracotta pot.
How: Cut down all the stems so they are the same size. Pack them into the container so they are secure but not squashed.
Where: In a sunny spot. Make sure the container cannot fill with rain by putting it on its side. If you are using a terracotta pot make a ‘nest’ of stones on the ground first which will allow you to securely place the pot on it’s side.
Who’ll come stay: Solitary bees will lay their eggs in hollow stems and seal the ends with mud.
Mini Beast Guide
There are lots of different mini beasts. Some are social like ants and bees, some are slimy like snails and some have more legs than you can count, like centipedes! Use out mini beast guide to find out more about all the different mini beasts you’re likely to see in your garden .
Create a Wildlife Garden
Wildlife gardens are becoming increasingly important as natural habitats are destroyed and native species need to find new homes. Creating a wildlife garden is lots of fun and a great way to teach kids about the natural world around them.
Go on a Mini Beast Hunt!
Go into your garden or take a trip to your local park or woodland for your mini beast hunt! Print out our Five Flamingo ‘Mini Beast Hunt’ record sheet to record what you find.
More Mini Beast Activities
We have lots of other fantastic mini beast activities on the Five Flamingo’s main mini beast page!
Garden Bird Guide
Encouraging mini beasts into your garden will also encourage more birds to visit your garden too! Find out more with our garden bird guide.