Making a DIY insect hotel invites a wide diversity of native insects to your garden. By providing insects with shelter where they can nest, they will return the favor by cultivating the natural habitat, which is a key aspect of protecting biodiversity in your garden. Our instructions give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to build housing suited to different kinds of insects.
Wild bees, earwigs, wasps, moths, bumblebees, butterflies and many other insects play a vital role in increasing species diversity and biodiversity. They maintain the ecological balance by pollinating the flowers of countless plants so these plants can reproduce. They also eat other insect pests and their larvae.
By building an insect hotel, you will help insects to survive. This protected space will encourage beneficial insects to take up residence, enable them to live through the winter and provide them with food and shelter.
Whether you put your insect hotel in your garden, on your balcony or on your patio, you should select a spot that is sheltered, warm and provides protection from wind and rain. Read “Setting up and mounting your insect hotel” to learn where to place your insect hotel.
Your insect hotel can have as many chambers as you like and you can make it fit the size of the space you have available.
The first step of our tutorial will tell you how to decide on the number of chambers.
The variety and quality of the materials that you use for your insect hotel play an important role.
Ideally you should use untreated materials you find in nature that are mature and seasoned.
The individual chambers of your insect hotel should be filled with a wide variety of materials to attract as many different kinds of insects as possible. Wild bees prefer drilled holes and hollow plant stems, for example, while butterflies prefer small twigs.
Your imagination is your only limit to building your insect hotel. To inspire you, we have put together three lists of materials.
Have you gathered all your materials? Then let’s start building.
Different kinds of insects have different sheltering needs. So first decide which type of insect you’re building for. The number of chambers determines how big your hotel will be.
You can choose any shape you like for your frame – from triangular to a traditional tiny house. Position the boards on the ground and use a saw to cut them to the right length. Plan out the back for your hotel. Screw or glue the boards together and then you have your frame.
Tip for the roof: A little porch roof made of roofing tiles, for example, will protect your hotel from the rain and damp. The roof should extend a good five to ten centimeters beyond the frame.
Fasten the individual nesting aids and shelters to the wood frame. Use hollow bricks, pipes, flower pots, aluminum cans or boards to create the compartments. Place the individual compartments where you would like them inside the frame and fasten them to the frame with screws and glue.
Then fill the individual chambers with the materials you prepared above.
To protect the insects from birds, you can cover the hotel with some wire mesh. Leave about five centimeters of space between the mesh and the nesting materials. The mesh shouldn’t be too fine because the insects will need to be able to fit through it.
Once your hotel is built, it’s important to find a suitable location in your garden or on your balcony. A good location means you will have lots of visitors at your hotel.
The best time to hang your insect hotel is in February or March because this is when insects come out of hibernation. But you can put it up any time of year. The insects will be happy to find a home waiting for them when they need it.
How practical: The insects will do their own housekeeping in your hotel. You won’t need to do anything for them. The fewer changes you make to your insect hotel, the better it is for the insects.
What should you know about building and maintaining an insect hotel? Our top 5 tips: