Attracting insects to your garden – Build an insect or bug hotel

Insect hotel, bug house, wildlife hotel
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What does an insect hotel have to do with hedgehogs? Well, insects (and particularly beetles) are actually top of the hedgehog diet. Attracting insects into your garden will also help hedgehogs and other wildlife thrive.

Autumn is a great time to build one – when you will be able to forage for plenty of pine cones, twigs and leaves.

wild hedgehog diet

The wild hedgehog diet – with beetles at the No.1 spot!

To build your insect hotel, you will need:

  • Imagination
  • Lots of foraged items
  • Some basic DIY skills
  • Inspiration
  • Plenty of time – it takes longer than you think
IMG_3080

Our finished bug hotel

Insect hotels are all very different so I am not going to give you a step by step guide to how I built mine but, instead, I’m sharing my top tips. You can create yours with a pitched or flat roof, perhaps even with a living roof of plants. If you are looking for a step-by-step guide, you can find one here

The insect hotel built by my husband uses wood from old wooden pallets as a base to create the compartments and the roof slats. He has constructed a hedgehog nesting area underneath by creating a foundation of bricks, built around a cavity. We later filled the cavity with hay. You can fill your insect hotel with all sorts of things but ours included:

  • Plastic drainpipe
  • Bricks
  • Offcuts of wood with holes drilled in
  • Twigs
  • Logs
  • Fruit canes cut into lengths
  • Pine cones
  • Hay
  • Leaves
IMG_3081

We created a base of bricks underneath the hotel and filled it with hay for hibernating hedgehogs

Start by creating a mood board using Pinterest, which is packed with photographs of the insect hotels that other people have created which you can use as inspiration.

Scour freecycle  and gumtree as well as local community pages for free or cheap wooden pallets and wood offcuts (untreated wood). I picked up a large pallet for £1.

If you are hoping to attract solitary bees, the hotel needs to be south facing.

It took part of 3 weekends to create this large insect hotel. It has a front and a back section but we’ve focused on filling the front section so far. It makes a lovely feature when viewed from the kitchen window!

Insects were already taking up occupation before we had finished building, so we know it works…

We created the ‘bug hotel’ sign by engraving the word using a Dremmel tool and then using a soldering iron to turn the letters black.

Don’t forget to share your pictures when you have finished!

If you don’t have time to build a fancy insect hotel, remember that a big pile of logs can also be great for attracting beetles and here are some other great tips for making your garden hedgehog friendly.

You can also read about what plants to grow to attract insets.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. My work is entirely self-funded. You can find out more about supporting my work here.

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