How to Make an Insect Hotel

Three Parts:Choosing A LocationChoosing Your StructureFilling the Hotel

If you're interested in bugs and insects, an insect hotel can be a fun DIY project. An insect hotel is a structure designed to help insects find shelter and build nests. You can use many different structures to make an insect hotel, depending on how big of a hotel you want. From there, fill in the hotel with suitable materials for insects. Choose a safe place outside to set up your hotel.

Part 1
Choosing A Location

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    Select a location in your yard. When looking for a location for your hotel, find an area in your yard close to other wildlife features. These are areas where it's likely bugs already linger. If you have a pond, this may be a good location. You may also want to set up your hotel near a bush, tree, or shrub.[1]
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    Pick a spot that catches both sun and shade. An insect hotel is meant to cater to a variety of insects. Invertebrates often prefer dark and damp environments, while bees and butterflies like sunshine. You want to place your hotel in an area that gets both sun and shade.[2]
    • An area near a large tree or hedge can be particularly helpful when it comes to catching shade and sunlight.
    • You should be conscientious of shade and sunlight while assembling your hotel. Hive-like structures and nectar-producing plants cater to bees and butterflies, and should be placed on the sunny site. Dry twigs, straw, and hay cater more to invertebrates, and should be placed in the shade.
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    Make sure your hotel is on a flat surface. You do not want your hotel to fall over. This could injure and potentially kill insects that seek shelter. Therefore, make sure the surface where you set your hotel is level. If you find a surface is bumpy or uneven, pick another spot for your insect hotel.[3]

Part 2
Choosing Your Structure

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    Try an old birdhouse. You may not want to make an incredibly big insect hotel. If you're just looking for something small to place in your backyard, go for an old birdhouse. An old wooden birdhouse can be easily repurposed as a bug hotel.[4]
    • You can really use any old wooden box. If you're no longer using a small chest or toy box, you can use this as the structure of an insect hotel. It's better to reuse materials than to end up throwing them away.
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    Use pallets and cinderblocks. Some people want a very large insect hotel. This can be easily made by using old pallets and cinderblocks to create a tall structure. If you don't have old pallets lying around, you can make a trip to the hardware store. However, any long flat object, like old boards of wood, can be used instead.[5]
    • The process is fairly easy. First, you'll have to select where in your backyard you want to place your structure. Then, place four cinderblocks on the ground in a rectangular shape. Then, lie the pallets across the cinderblocks to form a floor-like rectangular structure.
    • Take four more cinderblocks. Place them on top of where the lower cinderblocks are, so the pallets are sandwiched between two cinderblocks. Then build another floor. You can add as many stories as you would like to your bug hotel,
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    Construct a box from cedar pieces. You can also build your own structure for an insect hotel using cedar pieces. Much like an old birdhouse, cedar pieces will make for a fairly small hotel. You will need two cedar pieces of 5 1/2″(h) x 5 1/2″(w) for the top and bottom. The back panel will be 12″(h) x 5 1/2″(w). The right and left panel will be 12″(h) x 4 3/4″(w). You can get cedar cut at a local hardware store.[6]
    • Use a power drill to drill holes in the cedar box, and then use weather resistant screws to piece the different parts together.
    • There is no strict order for how you piece the box together as you go. It may be easiest to screw the right and left panel on to the top and bottom panel. This will give you a rectangular outline, which you can easily place over the bottom panel. Then, you can drill the bottom panel in place.

Part 3
Filling the Hotel

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    Consider the type of bugs in your area. Ideally, an insect hotel will be appealing to a wide variety of bugs. However, there may be a particular type of bug you want to attract. You may also know a certain type of bug is particularly prevalent in your backyard. In this case, you may want to prioritize certain materials when filling your insect hotel.[7]
    • Bees are a particularly popular guest of insect hotels. Rolled up bits of paper and leaves can be used to provide hive-like holes for bees. If you have a lot of bees in your yard, creating a bee-friendly insect house keeps them from building hives in unwanted areas.
    • Dry materials, like straw, hay, and leaves, are great for invertebrates. Invertebrates include worms, crickets, cockroaches, millipedes, and mosquitos.[8]
    • If you have a lot of butterflies and bees in your yard, you may want to put potted nectar-producing plants in your insect hotel.
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    Create holes. Many different types of bugs like to have crevices to hide in. It's a good idea to have at least one section of your insect hotel full of holes.[9]
    • Hollowed out plant stems can be put into an old pieces of drain pipe. You can then place that drain pipe into a section of the insect hotel, which makes an excellent shelter for bees.
    • You can also roll up paper to make holes, and pack one section of the hotel full of rows of rolled up papers.[10] It's good to have holes of a variety of diameters, as this caters to many different insects.
    • You can also drill smaller holes into a piece of wood. You can then set this piece of wood into one corner of your hotel. Small holes may be better for smaller insect.[11]
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    Gather materials outside. You want to fill your insect hotel with as many items as possible. Once you've made a few sections dedicated to holes, find materials outside. Place these materials in other sections of the insect hotel, forming a busy habitat that caters to many different types of bugs. You should look for the following when building your insect hotel:[12]
    • Dead wood
    • Dry leaves
    • Old bark
    • Dry sticks and twigs[13]
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    Add straw and hay. In addition to gathering materials outside, you should purchase straw and hay for your house. Straw and hay create cracks and crevices. They also provides invertebrates the option of burrowing and hibernating in the soft material.[14]

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Categories: Bugs