Our gardens are full of beneficial insects, who help with gardening, pest control and pollinating our flowers and crops. An insect hotel can be a useful and attractive addition that will support a healthy population.
Insect houses, or bug hotels, come in all different shapes and sizes and look great when grouped near flower beds or patios. Make sure to put yours in a sunny, but sheltered position in your garden and have enticing plants around to encourage insects to use them.
Modern looking bee hotels are structured with plenty of hollow canes or drilled holes to a specific depth in wood. Our Tabarca and Alboran Insect Houses are perfectly designed in this way for solitary bees. The queen places pollen inside, lays a single egg then seals this up. This process is repeated until the cane or hole is filled. When the larvae emerges there is a supply of pollen ready to feast on.
Larger bug hotels allow for multiple species of insect to take refuge and can make a stunning feature to talk about with friends. There are sections for hollow canes, pine-cones, dead wood chips and drilled wood look which look very natural and all these nooks and crannies will suit all sorts of bugs, ladybirds and bees. Bumblebees make nests in cavities and our Majorca model includes a section for a bumblebee at its heart.
Ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings are especially useful to have in your garden as they prey on aphids, so are attracted to plants such as shrubs and roses. Lacewings have pale green thin bodies with transparent wings that fold horizontally along their backs when they are at rest. Lacewings will take to hibernation chambers so look for insect hotels that have horizontal slots.
Watch solitary bees make use of hollow canes as chambers for their young
Butterflies on the other hand seek cover in shrubs like ivy, dry corners and you can even find them hibernating in your porch or outbuilding. If you want to provide an insect house for butterflies, then choose one with vertical slots so they can fold their wings and glide in. For more information on butterflies, click here.
If you prefer to recycle natural materials from the garden is to create a home-made bug hotel, this can be a lovely project to do with youngsters. Use anything from pallets, dead logs, chipped bark, fallen pine cones and leaf litter to create layers of sections and see who takes up residence. That’s the time for get out your bug viewers!