INSECT NESTING MATERIALS
When building your Bug Hotel, look for materials like these:
Dry leaf litter, sticks, and straws
Bugs and beetles love to hide in a pile of leaves, and some butterflies and moths spend the winter as a chrysalis in dry leaves, too. You can rake your leaves into your flowerbed during autumn, and they will provide a blanket for your flowerbeds over the winter and hold moisture in during spring. Straw has the same effect.
Bamboo, hollow reeds, and drilled wood
Solitary bees are creatures that don’t form colonies; they live alone, like to hibernate, and lay their eggs in these materials to survive winter. To accommodate different species, find bamboo or wood with different-sized holes—or use different-sized drill bits to drill various holes in the material.
Deadwood and bark
Beetles chew through wood while making their perfect-sized nests, and many bumblebees will hibernate in abandoned deadwood because of their size. Smaller bugs and beetles that prefer softer material hide in tree bark, where butterflies and moths also like to hide.
Densely covered trees and shrubs
These plants offer good nesting sites and protection from the elements for birds and bats. Choosing thick bushes and trees provides food, shelter from the elements, and a nesting site. If this is not possible where you are, you can set up bird or bat boxes in place of natural sites.
Out of the 20,000 bee species that exist, 70% of them nest in the ground. These solitary bee species dig holes in soil, leaving circular piles with a hole in the center. Each bee has its own burrow near other bees, living in groups that range from hundreds to thousands. Don’t be afraid—solitary bees are not aggressive like social bee species; the males don’t even have a stinger.
Lacewings are great housekeepers for your bug hotel; they will keep your hotel free from mites and other pests. They like to nest in corrugated cardboard, so add some pieces to your hotel.
It doesn’t have to be fancy—just create a space for your bugs to stay!
Remember to clean your hotel every couple of years, or as the material starts to decay. Leave the cleaning until spring is almost over, so all the eggs and chrysalis that could be inside have hatched. Then you can make it ready for the next round of guests. Call it your biannual renovations!