How to build a bug hotel
Before long, we’ll be heading into autumn and minibeasts will need a nice, cosy place to hunker down for the winter. Why not help them out with a ready-made home?
Collect lots of dried out, hollow stems and pack them into an old terracotta plant pot (a plastic one might get blown around too much). You’ll need to cut or break the stems to the right length and pack them tightly so they don’t fall out, but not so tightly that they get squashed.
Find a spot that doesn’t get too wet and make a little ‘nest’ for your pot using a pile of stones. Place it so the open end is pointing downwards slightly, otherwise it will get full of rain. It’s also good to put it in a place where it will catch a bit of winter sun rather than in total shade.
Good for: solitary bees, who like to lay their eggs in hollow stems and then seal the ends with mud.
Pine cone palace
Gather some pine cones and bundle them together closely, so that they interlock a bit. Then stuff some dried leaves in the gaps.
Put your bundle in a sturdy string bag or wrap it in garden mesh so it doesn’t fall apart. Hang it from a tree or put it on the ground in a sheltered spot that doesn’t get too wet.
Good for: ladybirds and lacewings, who will love to crawl into the crevices and hide in the leaves.
Dead wood den
Collect pieces of damp rotting wood, twigs and bark and make a bundle by tying it together with string. Put it on the ground in a cool place.
Good for: beetles, spiders, centipedes and woodlice, who like to burrow into decaying wood.
Use our beetle ID to help you work out who’s moved in.
If you have some bricks or wooden boxes to hand, why not try building a multi-storey hotel and treat your minibeasts to some really 5-star accommodation?
It doesn’t have to be huge, but make sure you divide it into sections and stuff each with different materials, such as dry leaves, moss, twigs, hollow stems and bark, and see how many different types of insect you can attract. Our creepy crawly spotter sheet will help you identify them.
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