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Insect Hotel for next winter

Would anyone be able to supply a link to a website that has plans for insect hotels that ---

a) cost very little to make, ideally nothing
b) have actually successfully been constructed 
c) have successfully overwintered insects, larvae, etc 

I'm after making one for my plot and prefer to reuse and repurpose materials. 
When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?


  • Thanks for that @AnniD .  There's actually one of very similar design at the visitor centre at Llyn Brenig in North Wales.  The ideas for fillers are great but I don't think I want to waste all those pallets by just piling them up one on top of the other.  I might, however, cut two or three in half and try that instead.  Thanks again.

    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,661
    We have made quite a few and have them in different places in our garden. We used cut bamboos from the garden and inserted them into left over gutter pipes. One was a wooden box that came with "something" and filled with the bamboos (different sizes). This one the woodpeckers were very keen on getting their beaks into so we had to put mesh over the front so that the insects could get in but the peckers couldn't get their beaks in. We always have them filled. Fascinating to watch them especially when they cover the end tube up.
  • Thats a good point, @bertrand-mabel, about protecting the little critters from marauding beaked predators.  I'll try to build in some sort of protection from the start.

    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
  • Dobbin26Dobbin26 Posts: 59
    I built this one from left over fencing materials following storm Arwen. Unfortunately our night rates must be too high as we've seen very little activity.  Think I'll need to try Air Bee & Bee for some customers 🙂 
  • :D:D:D
    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
  • I empty my bee hotel for over winter and then clean it and keep it indoors ready for the following spring. The bee cocoons go in a pot in the shed and they get put out on sunny days in April ready to hatch. This obviously means a bee hotel thar comes apart, which would be a bit more difficult to construct I guess!
  • AnguisFragilisAnguisFragilis Posts: 95
    edited April 2023
    I genuinely wouldn’t bother unless you want it as an aesthetic feature. What little research exists shows that they can be disease hubs and just attract a small number of species. Far better to just garden in an invertebrate friendly way including deadwood. The bulk of research which exists is for bee and butterfly hotels. This is pretty conclusive that butterfly hotels are a con. Bee hotels though can be effective if well managed which includes cleaning out and over wintering in a suitable environment. General bug hotels are something to make money from if you sell them but a leaf litter pile would contribute more from an invertebrate perspective.
  • InBloomInBloom Posts: 68
    This is ours made from left over wood from fixing the shed. Then cut up garden canes, drilled sticks and some mortar that was set in a loo role tube with holes poked into it before it fully set. So was all things had laying around  didn't cost anything. 

    A leafcutter bee used it within a few weeks of it going up. 

    Did read that bees like different sized holes depending on species and different lengths of cane to orient themselves when visiting the cells so it's not one flat surface. But there are some made from just a drilled block of wood which are obviously flatand they do seem to get used too. Does mean that the canes can be removed from this. They're not fastened in, just pushed in tightly against eachother. 

    There was a good website I read before making it, but the ones you can buy generally seem to get slated a bit. Holes too big to be useful, canes not long enough which results in more males than females and not cleanable so can result in disease. 

  • I hadn’t thought about cleaning them and I certainly wouldn’t want to be responsible for killing off the local bug population with awful insect diseases.

    What to do for the best ?

    Maybe I’ll just leave it then.  My reasoning for building a bug hotel in the first place was to try to encourage some pollinators to breed, not to kill ‘em stone dead.

    When I was a kid, and even until I suppose about twenty or so years ago, we had flowering plants in the garden that would be covered in bees and insects on a sunny day.  But these days by comparison there are virtually none.

    It’s really sad and disconcerting 😔
    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
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