We recently hosted a small party of permaculture aficionados who came to spend a few hours with us here, share a meal, tools, skills, conversations, friendship and fun…
Kids played together, hammering nails into wood and going to and fro the sand pit, patting baby chicken and rabbits along the way, brushing against the plants in our veggie patch and orchard, harvesting flowers, sun and oxygen…
The basis of this gathering was to learn how to make an insect hotel from scratch and why we might need some in our backyards. It was also to play together and have fun.
What is an insect hotel
An insect hotel is an infrastructure that welcomes beneficial insects in a certain area of your garden, orchard or backyard, providing them shelter and a place to nest, close to their food source.
These infrastructures are made of absolutely any material you can upcycle or repurpose – wood, logs, stump, bricks, besser blocks, pipes, pallets, terracotta pots, corrugated cardboard, straw, etc.
They can be made into a simple structure which you hang in a tree, such as a large bamboo pole cut to size and filled with sticks or bark… or it could be an elaborate structure requiring wood work, tools and a construction mind-set!
What motivates us here at Valley’s End is to ‘make things with what we have’… and for these things to be functional and pretty too.
We scavenged sticks and bark from our farm driveway and old fence paling from a council clean up pile. Jaz brought pine cones, Andrew cordless drill and other tools and Di large bamboo poles.
Functions of an insect hotel
- Integrated Pest Management
- Habitat: nest, hibernation shelter
- Fun project for kids (and grown-up!)
- Upcycled garden art
Insects it will attract
- Parasitic insects
- Solitary bees and wasps
Beetles – Bark laid onto each others
Centipede – Decaying wood
Earwigs – Bundle of dry grass or straw
Hoverfly – Hollow stems
Lacewing – Rolled corrugated cardboard
Ladybugs – Twigs, hollow stems, leaf litter
Native bees – Hollow wood, empty coconut
Slaters – Decaying wood
Solitary bees – Hollow stems, pipes, bricks (with holes), bamboo
Solitary wasps – Hollow stems, pipes, bricks (with holes), bamboo
Spiders – Any dry nook and cranny