Bug Hotel

A home for bugs and creepy crawlies.

Whether you like them or hate them, they are part of our world and play an important part in our ecosystem. Like any creature living on our planet, whether that is a human or a bug, we all need somewhere to call home. Creating somewhere for these critters to live will introduce your children to the nature that we live side by side with. It will open opportunities for learning about habitats, ecosystems, food chains and the concept of a life cycle in comparison to a humans. It will also hopefully begin to instil consideration and awareness to how we treat nature and for the life forms that live in it. These are important lessons to learn, at any age.  

Building a house for bugs is important in any season, as it will give them somewhere to shelter from the elements. Insects encourage pollination of flowers and vegetables and help defend the land from unhelpful bugs that would damage them. When we think of creepy crawlies we often associate them to the countryside, big gardens and parks. Not many people realize however, that creating homes for bugs within cities is really important too. Just as those bugs in the countryside help pollination, those in urban centres are crucial to help welcome pollination and the growth of insect societies.

All over the world researchers and scientists have been creating and forming a movement that is recognising how important it is to create urban habitats for wildlife. From planting trees to building bee sanctuaries for solitary bees, there is something in the air. Richard Conniff, a National Magazine Award-winning writer, predicts there is an ’urban wildlife movement’ happening.

So how can I help?

I hear you say. So glad you asked!

We can start by building a bug hotel.

If you start to research Bug Hotels, you may well find monumental structures that look a little daunting. Worry not! They don’t have to be big, in fact, the best hotels are often the ones with not 1000s of rooms.

What do I need to build one? Will it be expensive? 

No! That is half the fun of building a bug hotel. It doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact the best ones are almost entirely free.

All you have to do is look round your house for an unwanted box or draw, look in your recycling for empty cans, cardboard, glass jars and plastic bottles, look outside and find some nature. It is simple as that. Once you start thinking about what you can use, you’ll find that is all you can see!

Can you give me some ideas of what we can use?

Of course!

Natural Materials Recyclables
Leaves Toilet Paper Roll
Pinecones Scrap Paper
Bark & Twigs Bricks
Flowers Palettes / Skids
Moss Cardboard
Wood Chips Plastic Bottles / Milk Cartons
Nut Shells Drain Pipes
Bamboo Popsicle Sticks
Grass Rope
Tree Stumps Chicken Wire
Stones Plant Pots
Shells Old Drawers or Photo Frames
Twine Old Tires

What type of bugs may I see move into my Bug Hotel?

Good question. That will entirely depend on where in the world you live and whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural area. Basically, whether you live in a city, close to a city or in the countryside. But if we are just giving a loose summary of the types of critters you may encounter, here are some possibilities.

Wood Lice Ants Beetles
Snails Slugs Frogs / Toads
Bumble Bees Butterflies Grasshoppers
Hedgehogs Ladybugs Worms

Lets get started:

  1. Go out into your gardens, parks, countryside and find some nature to collect. Take a bag and pick up anything you think you might be able to use. Have a look at the table above for some Nature ideas.
  2. Now go into your recycling and through your house to see if you can repurpose any items. It could be as big as a drawer, or as small as a child’s shoebox. You will need something like a box or bottle in shape to pack your bug house up. Keep in mind it will need to be waterproof, as it’ll be outside rain or shine! Have a look at our Recyclable table for some ideas.
    We have used a house shaped photo frame and a milk carton for these Bug Hotel bases. To use the frame, the backing was removed, but kept the glass. This way, we can quietly examine the inside of the hotel after the Bugs start to move in! Neat right?! If you use a plastic jug, you can achieve the same affect!
  3. Start to build up your Bug Hotel with all the items you have collected. Be inventive! There is no right or wrong.
  4. Once you are satisfied it is packed sufficiently full. Take a step back and admire your handiwork!
  5. Find somewhere in the garden or your balcony to make it’s home. Remember to go and check up on it after a few weeks and see who has moved in. Just remember to be really careful not to scare them, we don’t want them to move out after we have made it so welcoming.

So lets all stop getting BUG EYED looking at this computer screen and go outside and enjoy the sun.

And just because we like a good pun, we’ll end with one.

Why are A’s like flowers? Because B’s come after them!

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Grace Selous BullContributor

Grace Selous Bull is an arts education author and freelance blogger. Her book, ‘Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school’ is aimed at children from 5-12 years old and takes them through a journey of ceramics through time. Her blog, The Rainbow Tree, explores all aspects of arts and crafts, and is aimed at children of all ages.  She is a full time Mummy of two girls, both of whom love being creative, and is married to her husband, Andrew, who does not. Follow her on twitter.

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