Bug hotels are a super cool way to give bugs a home, a safe place to hibernate. They’re ideal for all sorts of insects, and you can help them out by building your own bug hotel, which is super easy to do.
They’re ideal for lacewings, ladybirds, which will, later on, consume insect pests in your garden. You may even encounter solitary bees and wasps living in your hotel. It’s a great way to help out in a world that is increasingly hostile to insects these days.
Materials for Bug Hotel
- wooden box
- tree bark
- bamboo sticks
- small wood board
- decor bee
- orange acrylic paint
- wood glue
- black marker
How to Make a Bug Hotel?
Before we start with this tutorial, we hope that you’ve prepared all the materials. In this way, you’ll be able to work seamlessly through our tutorial and not run around trying to find something that you forgot. So, check again if you have everything, and let’s proceed.
Step 1: Paint the wood board
We’re starting out easy with painting the wood board. So, pick up the wood board, the paintbrush, and the orange acrylic paint. Start painting the small wood piece, making sure to cover every inch.
When you’re done, set it off on one side and allow the paint to dry.
Step 2: Add the hooks
Next, we’re adding in a couple of hoops. Get the wood box and the hooks and find the spot for them. We figured which way is up on the box and added marked down the areas where the hooks would go, making sure they’re on the sides of the box.
Use force to screw the hooks in. The hooks should be fairly easy to push through the wood, but you will need to go slowly at first as you try to find purchase in the wood, making it give in with the help of the pointy screw.
Step 3: Add the cardboard
The first thing we’re adding to the box is the cardboard. So, get your cardboard slices and measure them against the inside of the box. Our cardboard is already in strips that are as wide as the box is deep, but if yours is bigger, you’ll just have to make multiple cuts.
Once you’ve measured things in, get the scissors and cut the cardboard.
Place the piece on the very bottom of the box.
Repeat the process a few times, as you want to give the little bugs more room to nest and rest. We went with six layers of cardboard.
Step 4: Add the straws and pinecones
Next, we’re adding the dried straws and the pinecones. The straws are not exactly neat, so just shove them in there, bending as needed.
Then, grab the pinecones and fit them in together too. It’s ok if they’re crowded together.
Step 4: Break down the sticks
Next, we’re taking those branches we had on the table and breaking them off. You want the pieces to be about as long as the box is deep, so they don’t stick out too much.
There you go. They can be different sizes, of course, but you don’t want pieces that are TOO long.
Step 5: Arrange the bug hotel.
Let’s make some apartments for our little bugs! So, get the tree bark, the hollow bamboo sticks, and the pieces of branch. Try to fit them all in the box. We went by placing the bigger pieces – the tree bark – first.
Then, we started adding in the bamboo sticks, too, pushing in some sticks too. Things are going to get crowded, but that’s ok since there’s enough space for most of your sticks and bamboo pieces.
Of course, it all depends on how big your box is. For ours, we have some leftovers, but if your box is bigger, you may need extra material.
Step 6: Name the hotel
Sure, it may sound silly, but let’s name the hotel. Ours is pretty straightforward, but you can go as silly as you want, even asking your kids for help to name the place. So, get the pencil and trace the words on the orange wood piece that should have dried completely by now.
Once the penciled-in letters are done, get the marker and color the letters in, so they’re more visible.
You can also add the wood ladybug to the name plaque. Get the wood glue and add some to the back of the ladybug. Place it over the wood piece and press them slightly, allowing the glue to set a bit.
Add some more wood glue to the top of the bug hotel and place the wood plaque over it.
Step 7: Hang the bug hotel
Our bug hotel will be hanged on the fence or in a tree – we haven’t yet decided. So, it needs to be able to be hanged. We already installed the hooks, but we are yet to make it easy to hang. So, get the hemp twine and run the tip through the hoop, tying a couple of knots to make sure it doesn’t slip.
Cut off the excess twine once your knots are done.
Figure out how much you want the hotel to hang, cut the twine and push the other end through the other hook. Once more, make sure you tie some tight knots.
And there you go! You have a really cute bug hotel you can hang outside so the various insects in your yard can find a home in it.
You can customize the project a bit, depending on what materials you have at home. You can also add old wooden pallets, moss, dry leaves, woodchips, sand, soil, and other natural materials. If you’re building a large bug hotel, you can also use bricks and old terracotta pots or roofing tiles. As long as there are holes in them, they’ll work just fine.
We would love to hear what you think of our little bug hotel, and we can’t wait to see how it turned out, so drop us some pics over social media when your project is complete.