Posted 20th May 2016
Discover how to build comfy homes for useful garden dwellers
1 Every insect hotel should hang in a dry and sunny place. This one is for wild bees.
2 Cut five boards (1.8cm thick) out of old wood or buy new wood and have it cut to size. Most large DIY stores will cut timber to size for free. The roof boards should be 17cm x 14.8cm and 17cm x 16.6cm, and the back wall should be 11.8cm x 11.8cm square. The two lower diamond-shaped boards should be 11.8cm x 9cm and 10cm x 9cm.
3 Use 4cm long wood screws to screw the boards together. For best results, pre-drill the holes. Kids really enjoy being hands-on in this process, under supervision.
4 The roof should protrude forwards by about 3cm, with the back wall completely flat against the body of the house.
5 Use a pre-drilled steel plate as a hanger. If the house is going to be attached to a tree, a loop hanger is better, since the house cannot be nailed to the tree.
6 Cut reed stalks down to a length of 9cm. Ideally, the stalks should have varying diameters. Glue the stalks together with wood glue until the interior of the house is completely filled.
7 Fasten a square of wire mesh to the front of the box with holes that are small enough to keep birds out. Otherwise they will steal the stalks for their own nests. The same house can be used for ladybirds if a front wall is added (see drawing to the left, 11.8cm x 11.8cm). Holes with a good 1cm diameter are drilled into this front wall for the ladybirds to fly into. Ladybirds, who love to eat aphids, enjoy having dried bark inside their homes.
Hang the insect hotel near rose beds so the ladybirds can catch aphids.