5 star insect hotels

Pests are the bane of many gardeners’ lives but rather than resort to chemical sprays it’s a much better idea to attract beneficial creatures into your space to feed on the less desirable beasts. A great way of doing this is to install an insect house – the nooks and crannies within these structures will entice a wide range of pest-eating bugs looking for somewhere to hide or a place to hibernate this autumn. Although you can buy all sorts of off-the-shelf bug boxes from garden centres, it’s really easy to create your own unique design from recycled materials.

Insect tower in The Future Nature Garden, Sponsored by Yorkshire Water, University of Sheffield Alumni Fund, Green City Initiative, Buro Happold - RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009 - © Richard Bloom/GAP Photos

Insect tower in The Future Nature Garden, Sponsored by Yorkshire Water, University of Sheffield Alumni Fund, Green City Initiative, Buro Happold – RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009 – © Richard Bloom/GAP Photos

Boxing clever
A series of rectangular boxes mounted at angles on a vertical post results in a sculptural structure that boast the kind of looks that would perfectly suit a contemporary garden.

Bug hotel made from bricks and bamboo - © Lee Avison/GAP Photos

Bug hotel made from bricks and bamboo – © Lee Avison/GAP Photos

Brick by brick
Arranging a few old bricks on top of each other makes a simple insect house within minutes. The voids in each layer can be filled with old stems, twigs and other prunings collected from the garden.

Insect hotel - © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

Insect hotel – © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

High-rise living
Flying insects prefer to hibernate above ground level. Put boxes in a north facing spot so inhabitants aren’t woken up early in the year, when there are fewer pests around.

Insect hotel made from terracotta tiles and old broken pots - Pembury House  - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Insect hotel made from terracotta tiles and old broken pots – Pembury House – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

A good pallet
A pile of old wooden pallets makes a substantial insect house to attract a wide range of creatures. Small insects will hide in the upper layers, while large creatures can shelter underneath.

Insect habitat in mixed border with Rudbeckia and Penstemon - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Insect habitat in mixed border with Rudbeckia and Penstemon – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Pride of place
There’s no need to conceal an insect house if possess good looks. Treat it as a garden ornament, placing it within a border surrounded by nectar-rich plants to attract pollinating insects.