Making Your Own "Bug Hotel"
By Amanda Cahoon
We know that some bugs are beneficial for your plants and providing them with blooms from spring to fall ensures they do their job and reduce undesirable pests naturally. But did you know you can help these bugs survive the winter?
Do this by creating a bug hotel for beneficial insects to spend the winter!
Why Bug Hotels?
Insects need safe spaces to hide from their enemies, raise their young and shelter from the cold weather. By creating these spaces and shelters, you'll see an increase in beneficial insects of all types in your garden.
Bug hotels offer cozy homes for a diverse range of native solitary bees and other fascinating insects. From extravagant bug hotels to compact havens, there's an option for every space. Crafting your hotel is a year-round venture, but fall is the perfect season. Nature provides abundant supplies like twigs and leaves, and it's when many beneficial insects seek winter refuge.
Building Your Hotel
Building your bug hotel is a breeze - repurpose a wooden beverage crate, and you're good to go. If it's safe for food, it's safe for our insect friends. Select a prime spot for your bug haven, ensuring a warm, sheltered location shielded from the elements. Morning sunlight exposure is a bonus!
Now for the fun part - gather materials like twigs, leaves, grasses, pine cones, tree bark, and hollow stems. Divide your crate into sections and stuff them with these natural materials to create warm, dry nooks for your helpful insects. Expect ladybugs, solitary bees (like mason and leaf-cutter bees), spiders, lacewings, and beetles to check-in. Boost sustainability by using recycled or garden-sourced materials, and keeping your insect hotel free from chemical treatments like varnish or paint.
During the winter, you can sneak a peek inside your bug hotel, but be gentle - any disruptions might startle your tiny tenants.