An excellent activity for the whole family to enjoy together is creating an insect hotel. And the best bit – you can pretty much source all the materials at no cost if you are resourceful!
What is an insect hotel? Well, basically it’s making a nifty home out of sticks, and other materials twined together or placed in a box-like structure to encourage more insect activity in your garden/backyard/community garden or patch of paradise. The more native bees, insects, and other beautiful creepy crawlies that come into your yard the more your plants will benefit.
Visit your local park, green space, bushland etc and have a forage. What ideally you will be doing is recreating a natural environment for the insects, so take your cues from nature. Sticks of various sizes are a must have. Even better – ones with holes in them for the insects to nest in. Pine cones contain interesting crevices which insects love to explore, or sleep in, so grab any you come across during your nature walk. Reeds, grasses etc can also add different textures.
Once you have sourced a variety of shapes, sizes and materials you can start assembling your insect hotel. If you want to place them in a box or a larger container you can either purchase one or make one out of repurposed materials. The sky is the limit with your imagination running riot. You can make an insect motel out of anything really – old shoes, old kettles, old tv screens, a bunch of pot plants stuck together on their sides, an old bird nest box. You may choose to have a very basic simple structure of just placing a whole bunch of sticks in the crevice of a tree branch. Just make sure it’s secure enough to not blow away. String or wire is pretty much essential to bind it all together, but again, be inventive if you can’t source those.
If you are handy with a drill you can make holes into bricks, stones, and other solids to make borer like holes creating long burrows for the insects to hide in. Ensure all the holes are differing sizes, as it will encourage a whole smorgasbord of insect into your hotel. One tip when making your insect motel – don’t use treated wood. The insects won’t be fond of the chemicals at all.
So, give it a go! You’ll have endless fun trying to identify the critters you’ve encouraged to crawl into and call home your brand new insect hotel, and the best bit it’s 100% free!