Bee & Bug Hotel
It’s lovely to encourage more beneficial insects into your garden. Creating a bug hotel allows you to see what creatures live around you while offering them a convenient place to set up a home. What’s even better is that you can make a simple bug hotel from supplies found around the home or not far away.
You can use old pallets or beer crates for the framing; the wood is strong, and it’s an excellent opportunity to recycle. Make sure your bug hotel is sturdy, with a solid back and roof to protect from rain and other harsh elements. It is essential to use materials that aren’t treated with chemicals or paint/varnish as these will deter the insects. Avoid using plastic as it attracts moisture and mould to your bug hotel.
Bees and other insects like small places to squeeze into, so when you’re creating the hotel, think about the size of the residents you’re hoping to attract and ensure the nooks and crannies are the correct sizes. Making the holes between 2 mm and 10 mm will work for most visitors.
You can fill the hotel with hollow bamboo canes, small sticks and twigs, tree bark, and pine cones. If you have smaller wood blocks around, you can drill varying sized holes into the blocks and insert them into your hotel; make sure the edges of the drilled holes are smooth. Again, this is an opportunity to be creative and use the materials you have around you.
Where you install your bug hotel will depend on what insects you are catering for. If you want to encourage bees to live in your hotel, you should mount it in full sun about a metre off the ground. If you are after other insects, then find a sheltered spot near the ground around the foliage.
Create a bee bath
Once you've provided a home for these insects, you might want to provide other amenities. Bees love water to drink and to cool down their hive, so adding a bee bath to a sheltered spot in your garden is a great idea. Fill a shallow bowl or saucer with water, adding stones that poke out above the water so bees can land safely. In summer, you can add nectar stations to feed bees and butterflies. Mix four parts hot water to one part granulated sugar. Wait for the mixture to cool down, then fill the bowl.