What are Bug Hotels? (Everything You Need to Make One!)
These days, your pets aren’t the only ones that can stay at a hotel. All the lovely and ever-helpful little critters in your garden can also stay for much longer with their very own accommodations!
Also known as insect hotels, bug hotels provide shelter for multiple beneficial insects that 1) can help pollinate flowering and fruiting plants and 2) deter or remove unwanted pests in the garden. It is commonly made out of a wooden frame and filled with various plant materials such as twigs and branches.
Create and manage your very own insect hotel today for a much livelier garden space!
With one or a couple of bug hotels in your backyard, you can invite more native bees and beetles into your garden to help lessen work for you.
These miniature establishments provide plenty of room for beneficial insects to take refuge, make a nest, and lay their eggs safely for several seasons.
Insect hotels can be simple or elaborate, small or massive, rustic or polished, purely functional or also decorative—the possibilities are endless!
Plus, such structures that are home to numerous fascinating and beautiful bugs can help you teach those around you—young and old—about the importance of a biodiverse garden.
Non-plant materials you can add to your bug hotels are
- Old or unused bricks
- Wood pallets
- Broken clay pots
- Cracked shingles
- Clean cardboard
- Grain straws
- Paper products
- Metal mesh
- Old tin cans
- PVC pipes
- Different-sized stones
- Natural tiles
These things can improve the structure of your bug hotel and protect sheltering beneficial insects from predators such as birds.
5 Top Building Materials You Can Use to Make Bug Hotels
Depending on what insects you want to attract in particular, you might want to be more careful with the materials you make your bug hotel with. Personalize it to your heart’s content.
Sticks, for instance, can invite ladybird beetles while bark strips can lure in other beetles as well as spiders!
1. Dry Leaves
Instead of just discarding all the fallen leaves from the trees, shrubs, and every other plant on your property, use it to your advantage!
Filling the empty spaces of your bug hotel with dry leaves will attract insects such as harvestmen, centipedes, and a wide variety of beetles.
These predatory insects can help you control and get rid of common pests including soft-bodied critters like aphids and slugs.
2. Sticks and Twigs
Bundling together a bunch of sticks and twigs can also help home gardeners invite the world-famous ladybird beetles—more commonly called ladybugs—to your vegetable and flower garden.
Despite their gentle-sounding name, ladybugs can efficiently prey on a number of common small but highly destructive pests, like mealybugs and mites, found in household garden spaces.
These ladies also love feeding on pollen and nectar so they can give you a hand in pollinating too!
3. Bark Strips
Struggling with tons of tiny but incredibly pesky pests? Then, add lots of bark strips and pieces of dead wood in the nooks and crevices available in your insect hotel.
This will help you attract a wide variety of helpful predatory insects such as
In the event that some of these critters enter your home, don’t worry!
They can help you deal with different household pests as well. Cockroaches and flies are two common prey for them. You won’t have to resort to fumigants with them around.
4. Wood With Holes
Make your bug hotel all the more appealing to a multitude of different bees by adding different sizes of wood pieces that have many holes drilled into them.
Such cavities serve as an enticing egg-laying site for mason bees, leaf-cutter bees, and many other kinds of solitary bees.
5. Hollow Plant Stems
Naturally hollow stems also make for the perfect nesting tunnels for both wasps and bees!
Below are some plants with hollow or pithy stems:
- Wild roses
- Cup plant
- Joe-Pye weed
Pack together such hollow stems of varying diameters to attract different species of beneficial insects to the garden.
- “Insect Hotels” by n/a in the University of Michigan
- “Help Native Pollinators With a Bug Hotel” by Ashley Troth in N.C. Cooperative Extension