Make a bug hotel

Project

Use this project to make your school and garden more wildlife friendly. It’s also great fun finding the materials and building it!

  • Estimated time: 120 minutes
  • Location: Outoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Geography, Social Studies

Learning objectives

  • Pupils will learn to care for their environment
  • Pupils can identify native animal habitats
  • In this project pupils will select from & use a wide range of materials

Preparation

Gather all the materials you may require. If working with younger pupils ask the adults to pile the pallets or materials into a safe tower before the pupils arrive.

Equipment needed

  • Old wooden disused pallets
  • Twigs, logs with holes drilled in them, bark, bamboo canes, straw, pine cones
  • Terracotta pots, pipes, old roofing slates or tiles
  • Green roofing material, turf or other solid material to cover the top or ‘roof’ of the bug hotel

Why do bugs need hotels?

In natural habitats there are endless nooks and crannies where mini-beasts, properly known as invertebrates, can shelter. Crevices in bark, holes in dead wood, piles of fallen leaves, gaps between rocks, hollow plant stems, spaces in dead logs – all these can provide a home for the myriad small creatures that need somewhere to nest or to escape from predators or bad weather. Established gardens can also provide lots of hiding places, but gardeners often like to tidy away the debris where invertebrates might live.

Schools may feel pressure to keep their plots tidy and in a new garden, or one that consists of hard surfaces, the amount of natural cover will be limited. We can help provide more homes by creating bug hotels, which are often interesting and attractive creations in their own right.


What makes a good bug hotel?

The best bug hotels have lots of small spaces in different shapes and sizes and made from different materials. Ideally some should be nice and dry inside, and others a bit dampish. Bug hotels are generally made from reclaimed materials, or natural objects, which reduces cost, helps them blend in with their surroundings and is probably more attractive to the mini-beast guests.

Hints & tips

What might check in to your bug hotel?

A surprisingly wide variety of invertebrates including nesting mason bees and leaf cutter bees, woodlice hiding from the sun – and woodlice spiders hunting woodlice, earwigs hiding their babies from predators, ladybirds and lacewings hibernating over winter, beetle larvae feeding on the dead wood, funnel web spiders and centipedes storing their prey.

  1. Start with filling the lower part of the bug hotel with the larger objects like pipes, pot and roofing tiles.

  2. As you contiune to fill up the layers of the bug hotel add pinecones, bamboo canes, straw, bark and logs or wood with drilled holes. 

  3. It's going to take a lot of work so ask your friends to help you.

  4. Keep going until you are happy that the bug hotel is full and that insects will want to stay there.

  5. Ask an adult to help you with the highest parts and don’t forget to put a roof on top keep the hotel dry and waterproof.

We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards