The best place to put an insect hotel is a sheltered area out of the wind around 5-8 feet off of the ground. Keep bug hotels in a place out of reach of dogs and cats and in an area that gets morning sun to prevent mold. Protect your bug hotel from rain by making it with a waterproof roof or place it under a garden shed verandah.
This article will explore the best place to put an insect hotel in your backyard to keep it protected and safe for visiting insects.
How to attract bugs to an insect hotel
To attract bugs to an insect hotel place it in a sheltered area, where it gets a few hours of morning sun and is protected from wind and rain. Place it 5-8 feet off of the ground in an area out of reach to cats or dogs.
Placing your insect hotel near an existing tree or bush will make it easy for insects to transfer safely over to your insect hotel. Insect hotels will look great in your garden and can be an interesting feature.
Check out this insect hotel from Amazon below.
I have chosen an insect hotel with a solid top and back which will stop rain from getting the insects wet. If you are making one yourself, make sure it has a waterproof roof to provide a protected space for your insects.
Plant a variety of flowers that attract pollinators
If you are keen on attracting pollinators like bees to your insect hotel then plant a variety of flowers for them to feed on.
My insect hotel came with a seed packet which included a range of flowering plants which can be scatter sown in garden beds or planted out in a pot. This time I have decided to plant these in a pot because I haven’t always had success with scattering seeds through my garden.
Providing food for your insects will encourage them to visit your garden and make a home in your insect hotel. Make sure that you have lots of flowers with plenty of pollen available for the pollinators. Here is the list of flower seeds included with my new insect hotel. Which provide lots of pollen for local bees.
- Californian Poppy
- Chinese Forget-Me-Not
- Evening Primrose
- Native Violet
- Swan River Daisy
Avoid Using Pesticides
As the insects in your garden find balance, predatory insects like ladybugs and dragonflies will balance out any species trying to eat your plants like aphids.
Plant a range of flowers, herbs and vegetables in your garden so that the diversity in foliage supports a range of insects to set up home in your backyard.
Insect hotels are a good idea for your backyard
Adding an insect hotel to your backyard is a good idea if you want to increase the population of insects including bees. Insects are vital to the health of our backyards and local ecosystems.
Insects are food for other animals, they pollinate our fruit and help to break down organic matter in our garden.
Adding an insect hotel to your garden is a great way to support our insect population providing them with shelter and structure to build their homes.
Some gardens can have limited places for bugs to set up their home so providing a bug hotel gives them extra real estate to live in. These are perfect for tiny urban gardens like mine as they can fill a vertical space up a wall that you aren’t using for anything else.
Insect hotels can be used in big backyards, tiny urban yards like mine or even balconies. There are lots of different ways to build these hotels and their design will affect the types of insects that will set up home in your insect hotel.
Here are some key tips for choosing or making your own insect hotel from the ecologist in the video!
- Start small
- Use recycled materials
- Fill the hotel with different hole sizes (bamboo, old sticks, folded bark or clay with holes) 3-10mm
How to choose an insect hotel
Make sure your insect hotel has a solid roof, otherwise it could fill with water and grow mold. I also chose one that had an enclosed back which provides more shelter for the bugs inside.
It is also best to choose one to match your garden size, I have started with a small insect hotel for my tiny townhouse garden. If you have a bigger yard or a larger property you build multiple insect hotels or make 1 large one.
What to put in insect hotels to attract insects
Insect hotel should be filled with small twigs, hollow bamboo stems, clay with holes or old wood. This will create the perfect home for a variety of insects. You don’t need to put anything extra in insect hotels with anything to attract them.
Insects will come and visit the hotel to nest and get shelter from rain and wind. If they find the right size hole, they may also nest and lay eggs.
Insects that live in an insect hotel
An insect hotel can become a home for solitary bees, ladybirds, spiders, flies or even wasps. You should check your insect hotel often to see what insects are living there. Insect hotels can be used as temporary shelter for visiting insects to escape rain and wind.
Even if they don’t set up a permanent home it can be a good refuge for a short time.
If you place your insect hotel on the ground you will attract ground dwelling insects and even small lizards and skinks. I hope to attract flying insects like bees and ladybugs so I have placed mine high on a ledge above my vegetable garden.
I have recently let my Pak Choy go to flower which has attracted bees to their yellow flowers. It will take a few weeks for insects to find and set up home in my insect hotel.
How to clean an insect hotel
If your insect hotel has become home to spiders or wasps over time you may need to clean the hotel out to make room for other visitors.
Clean your insect hotel simply using an old dustpan broom to remove old webs and dirt. Use gloves and take care that there isn’t anything still living in your insect hotel when you clean it.
If you find that wasps or bees have brought in mud or clay to close up the end of the holes, use a stick to clean them out. Make sure the bugs have left your hotel first before you do this and take care.
Benefits of an insect hotel
Insect hotels benefit the local insect population, the local ecosystem and your backyard. They will provide a home for visiting insects including pollinating insects like bees. These will help to pollinate fruit and flowers in our garden helping tomatoes, strawberries, lemons and apples to set fruit.
Our native bees colonies are declining so adding an insect hotel support them in our gardens will benefit them and us.
The insects will also an important food source for birds and lizards in your garden. Adding an insect hotel will benefit the natural ecology of your garden to grow and diversify.
How to make a simple insect hotel
To make your own insect hotel, check out this video which shows you a range of types and sizes of hotels that are made from recycled materials.
Best place to put an insect hotel – Summary
Insect hotels will attract insects within 2-4 weeks if placed near your garden, in a protected area that gets afternoon shade. Protect the insect hotel from dogs, cats and rain and you will soon have a hotel full of insects.