Bug Hotels – How and Why to Build One

Roll Out the Red Carpet for Insects

Most bugs are great in the garden. Even the nasties are part of a bigger picture.

You can help keep this all in a healthy balance, and get your garden looking great, by building a bug hotel. Welcome them in, carry their bags to their room and always be there when needed.

You'll soon reap the benefits. 

A close up of a bug hotel


A few basics:

  • Choose a semi shaded spot if you want to attract the widest range of bugs. Some bees like it hot and sunny, other shady. Make your hotel in the round and you’ll have all aspects covered.
  • Make the hotel stable. It could be quite high and no one, or no bug, wants the thing to topple over.
  • Stability is increased if your heavier items are at the base layers of the hotel, graduating higher to smaller nooks and crannies.
  • Be varied. Big spaces, minute cracks and crevices - they equal variety = more bugs.
  • Make it cosy to all different types of bugs.
  • Be patient - hedgehogs might not check in for a few months but they will come. Just wait. 

A tall bug hotel with an apex roof

Get cracking:

  • Place a few bricks on the ground to provide a firm foundation.
  • Stack a few pallets on top of the bricks to create layers. Pallets are ideal as they already have gaps. No pallets? No problem: use more bricks or planks of wood.
  • Build this up until you have a sturdy framework of wood.
  • Fill the gaps from all sides with different materials to create a cosy hideaway for your bugs. Corrugated cardboard is loved by bugs; hollow stems from plants are perfect for many bees; sticks and straw are wonderful; and dried leaves, scattered as bedding are irresistible.
  • Split some logs, drill holes in them and secure in the gaps in your hotel - it’s possibly the penthouse suite in the making?
  • Peel some dried bark from logs and place in a bundle in one of the gaps in your hotel. Beetles will be the first in there if the woodlice are slow.
  • Pine cones are great news.
  • Bundled up stems in a terracotta pot are snug.
  • Newspaper balls are plentiful and cheap (or free). 

A bug hotel with a tiled apex roof, 'no vacancies' sign, surrounded by logs

A bug hotel with legs and an apex roof

Finishing touches:

  • You can roof it all over with tiles, wood, twigs or simply mound soil over the top. Plants may also get a chance to get a root-hold into the soil adding to the green credentials of your hotel.
  • Surround the finished hotel with flowers. Bugs like blooms. Fact.
  • Leave it to settle and get populated. Of course, check that it is working and tweak where necessary but be patient - the bugs, large and small, will find it. And enjoy it. 

Now that you’ve taken care of your garden’s insect population, why not attract and care for birds too, not to mention the family dog, with Buy Fencing Direct’s superb range of pet houses?

Click here for more eco-friendly ideas.


Main image courtesy of Sue Gibbins.