Mar 07

Insect Hotels for the Deft and Dangerous

What better way to add a savvy and functional piece to the garden than by adding some artsy arthropod accommodation. A bug hotel/insect hotel/invertebrate inn/chitin chapel can be a bit of natural eye candy, needn’t cost a dollar and end up becoming something you go out of your way to check in on because the rooms are always abuzz with activity (hehe like that there).  So I thought while this weather is abysmal for cultivating and seeding I’ll avoid the stir craziness of being stuck indoors by doing something beneficial for the crack team of non-paid employees who keep my ecosystem balanced and thriving.

While I was sitting in the comfort of a modern shelter built to thorough building codes and standards I realized I am asking a lot out of my insect team and without them work would be significantly more laborious and time consuming. I don’t think they really mind as they seem pretty happy to have stumbled across a location with meal abundance. But I do! Bugs don’t get to book a holiday to a tropical island getaway whenever the weather turns foul, becomes exceedingly hot or freezing cold or have some inconsiderate clod foot destroy their current home so the least I could do was set up a little refuge for when the climate or humans create those touchy situations.

I started by grabbing my son and checking our wood piles for some suitable materials, we came across some dried bamboo, rotten logs and untreated pine. All the pieces we need for a little stop over and it didn’t cost me a thing. For this insect hotel we are predominantly looking at facilitating homely conditions for our local wasps and bees. The wasps are dominant predators taking on a great deal of caterpillar, aphid and thrip control while the bees are hardworking pollinators ensuring the sexual needs of my plants are being met. These two high fliers require room sizes from 4.5mm to 10mm width and 10-15cm depth, they need the rooms to be out of prevailing winds, out of the prevailing afternoon sun and not fill up with water, otherwise as long as they are close to a meal they are pretty content.

Materials:

  • Untreated Pine
  • Nails/Screws (depends if you use a hammer or drill)
  • Dried Bamboo
  • Wooden Logs
  • Wood Branches

Instructions:

  1. Cut the untreated pine to the desired lengths of your insect hotel. (I used 40cm length and 25cm width for this one)
  2. Cut the dried bamboo, wooden logs and wooden branches into 10-15cm lengths.
  3. Drill multiple 4.5mm and 10mm holes into the wooden logs.
  4. Nail/screw the untreated pine into a box.
  5. Fill the box with the cut dried bamboo, the drilled wooden logs and the wooden branches.
  6. Fasten the pieces in place by hammering in wedges of wooden branch or timber around the edges.
  7. Set out in the garden

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