DIY bug house
How to build your own giant bug hotel. An insect hotel is a fantastic addition to your wildlife garden and creates a wonderful for habitat for insects and is great for hedgehogs too. Insects (particularly beetles) are top of the wild hedgehog diet. Attracting insects into your garden will also help hedgehogs and other wildlife thrive.
To build your insect hotel, you will need:
- Lots of foraged items
- Some basic DIY skills – including a drill for drilling insect holes in wood
- Plenty of time – it takes longer than you think
Materials for your bug house
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
My insect hotel uses wood from old wooden pallets as a base to create the compartments and the roof slats. A hedgehog nesting area has been constructed 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
- Offcuts of wood with holes drilled in
- Fruit canes cut into lengths
- Pine cones
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. You may also have old bits of wood hanging around in your garage or shed. It’s better to reuse materials than to buy new ones.
If you are hoping to attract solitary bees, the insect hotel needs to be south facing.
It took part of 3 weekends to create our giant insect hotel. It has a front and a back section but we focused on filling the front section first. It makes a lovely feature when viewed from the kitchen window!
It is gradually weathering over time and here is how it looked in Summer 2019 and Autumn 2019.
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.
If you are looking for more inspiration, here is a great video from the Wildlife Garden Project.
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, as well as compost heaps and here are some other great tips for making your garden hedgehog friendly. You can also read about what plants to grow to attract insects.
I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. My work is entirely self-funded. If you have found this information useful, You can find out more about supporting my work here.
I also make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife. You can visit my online jewellery shop here.