How to Make an Insect House

First off, insect houses give you the opportunity to bond with nature!

They are perfect for people in search of new ways to green up their outdoor space and provide entertainment for kids in the process. It is a unique and natural way of giving back to the environment.

So they say!

Brief Definition of an Insect House

We can simply refer to insect houses as artificial homes or houses for our mini-beasts, or as we like to call them, insects. Naturally, these insects live in nooks, crannies, and any dark corner to hide from predators and protect themselves from unfavourable environmental conditions.

The dwelling place of these insects includes rotting logs, underneath rocks and fallen leaves. So, what insect hotels[1] aim to achieve is to provide a place of shelter that is almost similar to the habitat of our insect friends. If you are able to create a pseudo habitat for your insect friends, you become landlords of some very exciting creatures on earth.

 

Why Do We Need to Build Insect Houses?

It’s easy. Our insects are experiencing a decline. Some studies show that insects now go extinct at the rate of 2.5% in a year and that in the next two to four decades, 40% of our entire insect population could be lost. This definitely isn’t good for us and the insects because insects play a major role in our ecosystem. No matter how trivial you think their existence might be.

For starters, insects help us pollinate our plants. Without pollination, certain human foods won’t even be in existence. They are also a food source for other animals in the environment. Animals like birds and hedgehogs eat insects. However, it is because of our constant need to advance in technology that these little animals are actually going extinct.

Certain agricultural practices, mechanised farming, global warming and use of pesticides contribute to the extinction of insects. They have fewer options for accommodation and food, so your insect home will really do some good.

What Bugs will Take Residence in your Insect House?

Okay, it’s no news that there are a lot of insects living in the world today. However, your insect house will most likely appeal to insects like lacewings and ladybirds; they both love to feast on pesky aphids, beetles, woodlice, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and solo bees.

Also, you will probably attract toads and other insect predators to your insect home if you are not careful with the kind of hotel you create for your insects.

How Do I Build The Ideal Insect House?

Since there is a wide range of insects out there today, it makes sense that these little fellas will require varying accommodation needs. For instance, bees favour a dry environment while beetles live where they get access and feed on rotten wood. In a nutshell, your insect homes should be ideal for the kind of insects you’d like to attract and have around. One of the best things about insect homes is that you can use natural materials to mimic the kind of environment you want your insects to live in.

Here are some of the best materials you can get started with;

  1. For beetles that require a cool environment to thrive, terracotta shards, stones and slates maybe your best option.
  2. Stag beetles, woodlice and millipedes may prefer dead and dry woods.
  3. Spiders, ladybirds and some bees may want to get settled in straws, hays and dry leaves.
  4. Corrugated cardboard rolled into tubes are perfect for lacewings.

Ways You Can Build A Insect House

Now that we know that various insects prefer different environments for survival, here are 3 insect homes you can build for your desired insects within a few hours.

  1. Wildlife Stack

This kind of insect home is usually suitable for a lot of insects because it has a plethora of nesting materials. For this insect house, you need to get some bricks or pallets, a few wood planks, and some plastic to make the roof.

Steps to make it:

  • Stack your pallets together by placing one on top of the other until a desired but safe height is reached. If you are using bricks and planks, carefully arrange four bricks on the ground, and then place one wood plank. Repeat the process.
  • Make a roof or a covering by placing the plastic or flat wood piece on top for protection against the elements.
  • Once you got the structure laid down, begin adding the nesting materials. Do not make it too tight in the insect homes.
  • You can attract insects to the house by using pots of wildflower plant or a fresh garden. The best location should be on the roof.
  1. Log Pile House

This is an insect home for people who feel like the previous option is a little too difficult. You could also build this insect house if you are short on resources to use. This insect home is perfect for wood-eating insects like beetles and woodlice. For this insect house, you simply need to get some sticks or logs.

Steps to make it:

  • Get your logs together and stack them log after log. Once you’ve reached a nice height, cover them up with dry leaves or any other dead plant parts.
  • If you have a small garden, you can use rotten wood, twigs, sticks and barks of trees in place of logs.
  • After that, you need to form a bundle using twigs and sticks and tie them up with thin garden twine. You can then place this bundle on a tree, on a fence, or even on cool and dry ground. Give it time and you will see that it will attract all kinds of insects.

  1. Pinecone treehouse

Another great insect home that gets your body pumping with excitement when you build it is the pine cone treehouse. It is basically made of a string bag and pine-cones. It is the perfect insect home for ladybirds and lace-wigs. For this insect home, you will need; pine cones, a string bag and some dry leaves.

Steps to make it:

  • Firstly, you should get some pine-cones and gather them together to cover any opened spaces. Then fill in the remaining gaps with dry leaves.
  • Place the entire combination in the string bag and hang on a tree.
  • That’s it. Your insect home is good to go. It is easy and simple to build and the best part is that it doesn’t require much time.

Where Do I Put My Awesome Insect House?

I already stated earlier that insects would want to live in a cool and dry place and free from any form of excess heat. So, going by this logic, your best bet would be to attach your insect home to a fence, hedge line or underneath a tree.

If you are building an insect home for bees, you should consider fixing your hotel onto a tree, a fence, or placing it on top of your house at a safe height.

Ultimately, you should just try to pick a place that would not be disturbed for up to a year. Also, your home should be sturdy enough to hold your insects when they hibernate. It would not make any sense if your insect’s house falls over when they are asleep.

When Can I Build My Insect House?

Now, you might be wondering when the right time is to build an insect house. Should I do it now? Or should I wait and see what the future holds for me?

Honestly, the answer to that question is NOW.

The reason is simple, insect homes have no terms and conditions required to use them. They are used all year round by insects to escape predators, store preys, and even lay eggs. This just goes to show you how important these hotels are to insects. You don’t even have to worry about them using the facilities in the insect home. They will make good use of it without any question.

Come rain, come sun.

How Do I Attract Insects To My Insect House?

In all honesty, if your insect home has all the right materials your insects need to survive, then they don’t need to be cajoled into your hotel. They will move in just fine. However, you can gladly speed up the process with just a few actions.

  • Don’t use pesticides. Yes, I know you need to get rid of all those annoying pests and insects around the house but, if you really want to get your insect home up and running in no time, then you need to reconsider the use of pesticides. The reason is simple. You may end up killing your desired insects with these chemicals. Although, you may probably not need them since insect homes tend to summon predatory insects.
  • Having a water source around your insect home may help speed up the moving in process. You don’t really have to start building a pond or anything like that but, saucers covered in pebbles and filled with water can be very helpful.
  • Not to mention the obvious but apart from a water source, you can also attract your desired insects with the kind of food they like to feed on.

Conclusion

Getting people, especially children to build insect homes is a good way to get them acquainted with nature and the outdoor world. It is fun, exciting and it also helps us to preserve our rapidly diminishing insect population. Plus, it really doesn’t cost much to build one.

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for reading.

Glossary

[1] Insect Hotel – Link