A bug hotel is exactly what it sounds like – a place for bugs or insects to stay.
Safe hideaways can be tricky for wildlife to find – a bug hotel can offer them protection and shelter, whilst also making great use of your garden waste.
Plus, not only will it help promote biodiversity in your garden, it’s also a fun and educational activity for the kids.
Let’s start with what you’ll need.
- Terracotta pots
- Fibre pots
- Bark, logs, scrap wood, bamboo canes, moss
- Twigs, sticks and dry leaves,
- Roofing felt
- Gardening gloves
- Safety goggles
Be safe and smart
This is the perfect family-friendly activity; however, it does involve some gardening tools. Children must always be supervised, and an adult will need to take over when it comes to using any sharp objects or tools.
Don’t forget to always read the instruction manuals before handling any tools and gardening equipment.
Ensure everyone wears gardening gloves throughout this project.
Prep your space
Before you start to build a bug hotel, you first need to think about the perfect spot.
Ask the kids to pick an area in the garden that is level and firm, and then decide together how large the structure is going to be.
To do this, consider how much free space you have in your garden and how much time you think the kids will be willing to put into maintaining it.
Top tip: Keep your bug hotel away from any vegetable beds.
Building the hotel
Show the kids how to lay some bricks down to create a foundation – but be careful of little hands and feet. Ensure they leave a slight gap in between the bricks to create those nooks and crannies bugs love.
The kids will then have to take a step back while you pick up the gardening tools.
To build a bug hotel, you need to create a simple wooden structure to place on top of the bricks – using your timber, screws and drill.
Don’t forget to lead by example and wear some eye protection.
Top tip: Have the kids place some twigs, dry leaves and bits of moss around the bricks to mimic a natural forest floor.
Once you have made the structure, it’s time for the kids to fill the bug hotel with all the things creepy crawlies love.
Different insects like different materials. If you want to attract a variety of bugs, the kids can create sections within the bug hotel using all those small pieces of wood and natural materials.
Here’s some creepy crawly favourites:
- Deadwood and bark for crawlies like beetles, centipedes and woodlice.
- Dry leaves, sticks and straw for other beetles and bugs.
- Canes, hollow stems, bamboo and some materials with holes drilled into them for bees.
- Terracotta pots to give the bugs a nice place to relax.
Top tip: Keep the kids entertained for longer and have them paint the wooden structure a bright colour or plant some specific flowers nearby to attract even more bugs and insects.
Add a roof
We don’t want the reviews of the 5* bug hotel to slip because of flooding. To keep the shelter relatively dry, hammer some roofing felt to the outside of the wood with nails.
Open your hotel for business
Now, the hotel is ready to open its doors to the bug-public, all you have to do is help the kids choose a name for it and make a sign.
Top tip: The bug hotel will get the most activity at night-time, so the kids may need a torch to see who has checked in.
Don’t forget to upload an image of your new Bug Hotel to social media and tag us @Homebase_uk.