Build A Bee Or Insect Hotel!
You can make your yard more attractive to beneficial insects by building them an attractive habitat. Bee or Insect Hotels are small structures that are easy to make. Depending on what you build, you can attract bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and more!
Beneficial insects pollinate your flowers and plants, making them more productive. Some provide natural pest control: eating insects that are damaging your plants. They feed the birds and simply make your garden more beautiful and interesting.
BEGIN WITH A BOX
You can build a box or repurpose a wooden drawer or a wood wine box (pictured left). Partition the box and fill it will different materials, depending upon what you want to attract.
Attract solitary bees: Solitary bees, unlike honey bees, don’t build hives. Some we often see in our yards are Carpenter Bees, Mason Bees, and Leafcutter Bees. Tubes made from bamboo (or commercially available paper tubes) or drilled into other pieces of wood give solitary bees a place to lay their eggs.
Attract butterflies: Butterflies need vertical, protected, spaces to rest at night. Sticks placed vertically provide this for them.
Attract Ladybugs: Ladybugs will eat their weight in aphids daily. Attract them with grass (protected at the top to keep birds from taking it away for nesting)
Attract wasps: Wasps have pros and cons. Paper wasps are predators for caterpillars damaging your produce. But they will also go after beneficial insects and can be aggressive. So take care in where you try to attract them (i.e. not to your pollinator house, or near your patio.) They like overhangs protected from rain and paper (empty paper egg cartons).
Use only natural untreated, unpainted wood, and other materials: bamboo, reeds/ stalks from other plants, pine cones, grass, or the paper tubes that can be bought online. Shards of terra cotta pots and bricks with holes are also good materials to use.
Face it to the south, to keep it warmed by the sun
Add a roof to keep it protected from rain
Drill different-sized holes and use a variety of materials to attract a variety of species
Be prepared to maintain it (it needs cleaning up annually).
Place the box on a wall, post, or fence at least 3 feet above the ground
Beware commercial bee hotels: they can be ineffective or even harmful.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHY & HOW TO BUILD YOUR DIY INSECT HOTEL