How to build a bug hotel - The Lily Foundation
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A wooden bug hotel made from a frame which is divided into individual boxes, each packed with interesting logs and sticks A wooden bug hotel made from a frame which is divided into individual boxes, each packed with interesting logs and sticks

How to build a bug hotel

Bugs might be the smallest visitors to your garden, but they’re one of the most important.

Bugs are vital for keeping our ecosystem working, so creating a home for bugs in your garden gives them somewhere to shelter and breed. The more bugs there are, the better it is for your garden and the environment!

All you need to do is provide some sort of shelter and add in some bug furniture to make it nice and comfortable. There are lots of designs on the theme which will ensure the bugs in your garden are happy.

1. Choose a location

A sheltered spot in the garden is best, away from wind and rain. Bugs like places that are cool, dark and damp, with lots of spots to hide and a bit of dirt and mould for good measure. Make sure the site is level and on firm ground.

2. Find your hotel base

A bug hotel can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. It might just be a pile of old wood, with small twigs and dry leaves stuffed into the gaps. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could use a plant pot, wooden box or drawer, a length of drain pipe, a bucket, or a plastic bottle cut in half. A hanging basket filled with pine cones makes a great bug hotel that can be hung from a fence or tree. If you have the space and materials, you can really go to town and build a bug mansion from old wooden pallets, bricks, chicken wire, roof tiles etc.

3. Add your bug furniture

Once you have your hotel, you need to furnish it. Bugs like cosy bedding made from natural materials like dry leaves, straw, tree bark, string, newspaper, cardboard, twigs and pine cones. Be careful not to pack too much in, or your bugs won’t have enough space to move around.

4. Wait for the bugs to move in!

Once your bug hotel is open for business, wait a few days and see what sort of bugs move in. What type of bugs your hotel attracts depends on where you live – in the town or countryside, for example, or near a park or wood. Ants, woodlice, beetles, butterflies and ladybirds are common bugs. Your bug b&b might also become a home for larger creatures like slugs, snails and worms. These in turn might attract something even bigger, like a hungry hedgehog! Can you see how the bug hotel is good for the ecosystem now?

We’d love to see your finished bug hotel, and the bugs who live there! Why not share them on Facebook, X or Instagram?

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