Why and how to build an Insect Hotel to encourage beneficial insects and bees to visit your backyard.

Almost 3 years ago, our family took a hiking trip through Austria. It was a memorable trip for so many reasons and, as is the case with all of our trips, our family brought home many memories and several ‘ideas’.

hiking in Austria

We started our multi-day hike by trekking through Sisi Park along the Traun river in Bad Ischl, Austria. It just so happened that while we were there, a garden show was being held in the park and as we were departing the park, I spied this insect house for sale.

I snapped a quick picture with the full intent of building one when we returned back home.

Insect hotel in Sisi Park, Bad Ischl, Austria

Better late than never…right? Truthfully, this has been up for almost a year…so is a fairly established hotel.

 

Our insect hotel is placed near the marsh and our garden, with the hopes of it having its ‘no vacancy’ sign up often. I probably need to get a listing on Hotels.com for it.

Why Build an Insect Hotel:

As organic gardeners, we are firm believers and ‘encouragers’ of beneficial insects. We’ve seen firsthand what parasitic wasps can do to those nasty Tomato Horn Worms and how quickly a few ladybugs can decimate a horde of aphids. We welcome any and all bees to our humble garden and put out the welcome sign in the form of Bee Balm, Zinnia, Lavender and Dill.

To that end, we are always looking for more ways to encourage those friendly bugs to make our home their home and this Insect Hotel is just another way to induce them.

  • The nooks and crannies, leaves, tubes and drilled logs provide shelter year-round, but especially in the winter months, for an assortment of beneficial insects.
    • Solitary bees will nest and lay their eggs in the bamboo tubes and the holes drilled in the logs.  These pollinators are always welcome.
    • Ladybugs and Lacewings will hunker down and nest in the leaves, pinecones and straw and devour any unwanted aphids and mites
    • Ground beetles and hoverflies will burrow in the bundles of sticks and twigs. Both of these insects love to feast on aphids, hoverflies also do a good deal of pollinating!
  • And while I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I’m a fan of ‘lawn art’…this insect hotel not only is utilitarian but is a piece of lawn art to me.

What We Used to Build Our Insect Hotel:

  • 10 feet Cedar 1″ X 6″ boards (for the frame and the internal sections)
  • 2.5 feet Cedar 1″ X 8″ boards (for the back)
  • 1 pressure treated fence post
  • 2 feet chicken wire
  • Various pine cones, pine straw, bamboo stakes, sticks, leaves, logs, etc…

While a little more expensive, we used cedar because of it’s weather resistant properties.  We didn’t want to use pressure treated wood given the chemicals involved in that process.

How We Built Our Insect Hotel:

  • It’s a pretty straightforward process, but here’s the drawing we used for our insect hotel:

Diagram of Insect Hotel

  • After building the frame, with the 1 by 6’s, we lined the back with the 1 by 8’s.Building Insect Hotel
  • We put the ‘shelves’ in and then separated the shelves and various angles, for all the different ‘rooms’.Insect Hotel Filling
  • Then we put on an overhanging roof, which we wrapped with copper.Copper on roof of Insect Hotel
  • Once it was attached to the fence post and ‘planted’ in the yard, it was just a matter of filling it with various items we had lying about.Close up of rooms in Insect Hotel

You can see in the image below that someone is building a nest in the drilled holes of the log.

Close up of Insect Hotel

  • The final step was attaching the chicken wire to prevent the material from falling out, as well as preventing any marauding birds from snacking on our guests whilst they are sleeping. Once they leave the safety of the hotel, I guess they are fair game.Insect House

I plan to start a flower garden surrounding the hotel this spring, with all sorts of beneficial insect attracting flowers…everyone likes a nicely landscaped hotel…hoping that it further increases our occupancy rate. If you are interested in an insect house, but not sure you want to spend the time to build one, you can buy them on (where else), Amazon. 

This insect house is one of the many things we ‘brought’ back from our travels…it will forever remind of us the beginning of our Austrian hike through Sisi garden.

diy Insect Hotel

 

Thanks again for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me today.  Please know that you are appreciated and that I welcome each and every comment that comes my way. If you want to make sure you don’t miss future content, pop your email in the beige box up on the right or click here.  I usually send out 2-3 emails a week, so I won’t inundate your inbox…believe me, I’m sensitive to an overflowing email inbox!

Printables and knit patterns are available to all of my subscribers in the Subscriber Benefits Library.  I will continue to add patterns and printables to this page as we go along.

You can also access all the products I referred to in this post on my brand new Nourish and Nestle page on Amazon. You can access it here.

So, if you’d like to get in on the ‘subscriber benefit’ action, simply subscribe to Nourish and Nestle here or using the form on the right sidebar. It’s towards the top a bit. I have sent all my subscribers the link to the Subscriber Benefits Library, but if you missed it or misplaced it, drop me a line.

 

 

 

 

 

 



7 Comments

  1. Mary Vogelsong

    February 28, 2018 at 11:48 am

    That is so interesting- never heard of such a thing! So environmental friendly and my kids would be intrigued! You’ve got me thinking about a new project.🤓

    Reply
    • lynn

      March 1, 2018 at 5:59 am

      Hey there my friend!

      It was so easy to make! Surely Eddie could put his skills to work and whip one up in no time! And it looks like a lovely piece of lawn art as well…to me anyway…two birds with one stone!

      Thanks for popping in today! Hugs and Kisses.

      Lynn

      Reply
  2. Jennifer

    February 28, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I LOVE this idea! We always leave a big patch of clover in our backyard unmowed so the bees have something to snack on. This would be a nice addition to the yard! Thank you so much for providing instructions to make one!

    Reply
    • lynn

      March 1, 2018 at 6:04 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      Oh I would love a big patch of clover! I may just have to plant one.

      And this was such a quick and easy and fun project….you can get as creative as you like!

      Thanks so much for swinging by and commenting!

      Wishing you a fantastic day.

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  3. Penny Amy

    March 1, 2018 at 12:01 am

    I love this idea! I conducted research for many years to help bees and think that anything we can do to help the poor things survive and help us by pollinating is worth doing. Such a disaster they are facing. Thanks Lynn

    Reply
    • lynn

      March 1, 2018 at 6:13 am

      Good Morning Penny,

      Yes, the plight of the bees is one that truly troubles my heart…they are so misunderstood and unappreciated. I will do just about anything to help the little critters…and this was a fun and easy project towards that end.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your encouraging comment! It is so very appreciated.

      Wishing you a fantastic day my bee-loving friend.

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  4. Barbara Chapman ~ French Ethereal

    March 11, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Hello Lynn, this bug hotel is soooo cute! We pretty much always have some leftover wood lying around so I bet I could make a small one up fairly easily. Thank you for a great idea! I saw your Pinterest links on Blogging Fifty and saved this out to read ~ posted to my Garden Projects and DIY Projects boards for you and our readers!

    Happy almost spring!
    Barb 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.