A great way to help the bees as well as other insects in your garden is to make them a purpose built home. It is a really easy, fun project to do and provides a place for them to breed, lay their eggs and hibernate throughout the winter. Bug homes come in all shapes and sizes, from multi-level community apartments suitable for accommodating a wide variety of insects like ladybirds, lacewings and beetles, to individual houses for solitary, solo bees. You don’t need any expensive materials for either, you can just make them from things that are normally lying around in your house and garden.
The aim here is to recreate the nooks and crannies that insects love to live in. You may find, if you build a big one, you will also attract other creatures such as toads and hedgehogs, who are always on the lookout for a warm place to stay.
Things to use
• Wooden pallets
• Broken bricks and tiles
• Broken plant pots
• Corrugated cardboard
• Logs and twigs
• Rotting wood
• Dry leaves
• Hollow plant stems, or bamboo
• Straw and hay
• Rolls of turf
1. Find a suitable spot. Insects like cool, moist conditions with some sunlight, so a dappled area beneath a tree is good. Look for somewhere that’s not going to flood. The actual building process is a bit like making a cake, stacking one layer of material on top of another. Take a look at the picture here, and it’ll give you a good idea of what you should be aiming for.
2. Lay a foundation of bricks in a rough square, the same size as one of your pallets, leaving gaps in between. One at each corner will do.
3. Scatter some dead leaves, woodchips and soil in the middle to attract frogs.
4. Lay a pallet or strips of wood across the bricks to make a base for your first layer.
5. Place some logs on top and then a few rolls of hollow stems or bamboo.
6. Put some straw and hay or wood chippings or pine cones in between.
7. Keep going like this, adding one layer one top of another until it’s as high as you want.
8. When you’ve reached the very top, make the structure waterproof, by laying some roofing felt or a sheet of polythene over it, as you would a garden shed.
If you haven’t got time to make your own insect home but would like to give the bugs somewhere to live, we stock a range of products to help you out. Please come in and see us for expert advice or just some guidance in making your selection. We are always happy to help!