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DIY insect hotels: what are they and why make one?

When you put an insect hotel in your garden, you are actively welcoming these beautiful little creatures which are extremely beneficial for the wellbeing of all your garden plants. This DIY insect hotel, also known as a bug hotel or house, is very much in demand at the moment. But do you know why? Are you wondering whether it is indeed as useful they say?

In this blog post, we will tell you about different types of insects, the role that they play in our gardens, and how to build your own insect hotel.

Insects are extremely important and useful in the garden. Each one of them plays their own vital role in keeping the garden beautiful and healthy. They are a natural pesticide, which is why they are called “the garden’s little helpers”. Ladybirds, for instance, will take care of aphid pests on rose bushes, while bees will pollinate the garden plants. The insect hotel will provide shelter for all your little garden helpers, and at the same time, it can be turned into an excellent tool for play learning with kids.

In the photo below you can see the wide range of insects that can find shelter in this bug hotel.

Many bugs can find refuge in a DIY insect hotel
Many bugs can find refuge in a DIY insect hotel

Tools and materials

Tools for a DIY insect hotel
Tools for a DIY insect hotel

Cost, time and difficulty

You only need around £30 worth of wood for this particular DIY insect hotel. If you already have all the materials, the cost of building this insect hotel will not be more than £40.

It takes about half a day to build the bug hotel structure itself, and another half day to kit it out and finish it.

DIY Insect Hotel: Building stages

1. Prepare the planks of wood

You can use 4 planks of wood measuring 15 cm wide, 2 cm thick, and 250 cm long.

Prepare the wood
Prepare the wood

Cut the planks as follows:

  1. 2 planks measuring 100 cm long, 15 cm wide and 2 cm thick. Using a mitre saw or a mitre box, make a cut at a 45º angle on one end of each of the planks. These planks will be the sides of the hotel structure.
  2. 4 planks measuring 60 cm long, 15 cm wide and 2 cm thick. These four planks will be placed horizontally to make up the various “shelves” or “hotel floors”.
  3. 2 planks measuring 72 cm and 70 cm long for the roof.
  4. 3 planks measuring 30 cm long.
  5. 2 planks measuring 25 cm long.
Cutting the planks
Cutting the planks

2. Build the structure

You can now begin to build the structure of the insect hotel! Place the 4 planks measuring 60 cm long horizontally. Place the 2 planks cut at a 45º angle vertically, as you can see in the photo below:

Build the insect hotel structure
Build the insect hotel structure

3. Add the back wall of the DIY insect hotel

All you need to do now is attach the back wall of the bug hotel to the rest of the wooden pieces. You could also use marine grade plywood or pallet pieces. 

Build the back of the bug hotel
Build the back of the bug hotel

4. Where to put your homemade insect hotel

The weight of your DIY insect hotel is now around thirty kilos, so before you finish it, you will have to secure it onto the place where you want to put it. The best spot for an insect hotel is a sunny place, protected from wind and rain.

First, attach legs to the structure. We used thick square pieces of timber measuring 15 cm in height.

You can then place a zinc sheet on the roof to better protect the hotel.

5. Set up the space for your guests

In the last step you will need to set up the space for the hotel guest. To make the space attractive and comfortable for them, you can include some of these:

  • Pine cones
  • Bamboo/reeds
  • Old tiles
  • Straw/hay
  • Logs of wood
And voilà !
And voilà !

Did you enjoy this article on how to make a DIY insect hotel? Perhaps you’d be interested in learning about how to make an outdoor pallet bar or reading about how to maintain a chicken coop!

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