Closing top of insect hotel and wiring top edge -
© GAP Photos
From humble abodes to grand imposing hotels, here are five reasons to get crafty, and make a shelter for the insects in your garden.
1. Wildlife is good for gardens
Bumble bees on Allium fistulosum – Welsh onion or bunching onions – © GAP Photos/Gary Smith
Gardens full of wildlife are happy gardens. The animals and insects in our gardens work hard to keep everything in balance – from pollinating our flowers and crops to preying on pesky aphids, to working the soil for us. Creating shelters for them to lay eggs or overwinter will help sustain the populations of these little helpers.
2. They make a fun garden activity for kids to get involved in
Child adding woodlouse into insect hotel – © GAP Photos
Children love wildlife, and creating insect houses together makes a great weekend activity. Have fun collecting the materials and assembling them together, and give your child the opportunity to take an interest in garden wildlife.
3. They can be as simple or complicated as you like
Woman arranging recycled christmas tree branches within bark stakes to create a wildlife shelter – © GAP Photos
Insects will shelter happily under simple piles of cut foliage or stacks of wooden logs. Or you can build a multi-storey masterpiece. Ultimately, if you build it, they will come – the level of detail is up to you.
4. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on it
Woman adding roof tiles in a stack to insect hotel – © GAP Photos
One of the most fun aspects to building wildlife shelters is that you get to be creative with the materials you use. If you have spare roof tiles, why not use them as a roof on your hotel to keep the materials below dry? Do you have an old tea pot that is no longer useful? Sink it under the soil with its sprout protruding from the surface and give solitary bees and wasps a safe place to nest for the winter. So many materials can be repurposed to give insects a home.
5. They add further interest to a garden
Insect hotel created in wire gabion with a variety of building materials and dried plant material – © GAP Photos
In the winter, when borders may look slightly drab, a multi-storey insect hotel can really add some much-needed interest and texture to the garden. And you can keep an eye on who has moved in.