Skip to content

Building an insect hotel: Ideas for your own flower, fruit and vegetable garden

Insect hotel build instructions bees ladybugs bumblebee eight different variations A

Insects are tiny, but play an important role in the environment. Without insects such as bees, beetles and butterflies, we will have to do without many fruits and vegetables. Especially because insect mortality has become a major issue, it is worthwhile to act environmentally conscious in your own garden and welcome the pollinators in the outdoor area. An insect hotel provides shelter, nesting space and weather protection. The construction itself is extremely simple, so anyone can build an insect hotel from available materials. But to ensure that bees and bumblebees really move in, you should follow some basic rules. We explain what you should consider when choosing a location and materials.

Building an insect hotel: What do you need to consider when choosing materials?

insect hotel build grasses scent wooden sticks

An insect hotel is not just an insect hotel. In order for it to really attract beneficial insects to the garden and create a species-appropriate home for them, it must be constructed according to certain criteria. Otherwise, bees and co. will not move in or, in the worst case, they will accept the nesting site but the brood will die because the construction or materials do not meet their needs. These materials come into question:

1. dry hardwood from local species , which does not splinter when drilled through. Splinters can injure the insects, and cracks in the wood also cause wetness and rot to form quickly. Ash, beech or oak are best suited for building a bee hotel or butterfly house. When doing so, also make sure that the wooden sticks are not treated with chemicals. The insects can smell them and will not move in. Soft wood species such as pine or spruce are best suited for bumblebees for this purpose. By the way, if you wish, you can impregnate the wood with linseed oil, so they will protect it from moisture.

Insect hotel build bees attract instructions tree trunk

2. hollow bamboo tubes are best suited as a shelter and nesting place for mason bees. But in order for them to really become a popular nesting place, you should leave one end of the 20cm long tube closed. Optionally, you can seal it with either pith or beeswax. Similar to the wooden sticks, you should always make sure that no splinters are formed during processing. You can also sand the entrance or exit additionally.

insect hotel build wooden stick pierce wall hang location sun


3. you can attract beneficial insects to the insect hotel with grasses from regional seed mixtures. In any case, you need to replace the grasses more often. Fresh flowers will also attract pollinators.

4. unsuitable materials: plastic, exotic wood species such as Bangkirai wood, wooden pegs and bricks. Paving stones, concrete or metal are also not very suitable. You should also definitely not use pallet wood for the insect hotel, because pallet wood is treated with strong chemicals.

Building an insect hotel: The right location

Insect hotel build wood species error paint do not paint

An insect hotel, depending on how big it is, will attract wild bees, beetles, lacewings and bumblebees. To make sure you do justice to all the insects, follow several simple rules:

1. choose a sunny location sheltered from the wind.

2. hang the insect hotel at least 1 meter high.

3. when choosing a location, make sure that the insects can find food and water near the hotel. Locations in a corner of the fruit or vegetable garden, in a flower bed, or near the garden pond prove to be optimal.

Insect hotel build pests birds wool yarn


4. protect the nesting place from birds. If you have a large garden, then you can protect the insects with a simple trick: build a bird house on the other side of the plot, including a feeding station. We will show you two ideas how to attract the birds with household materials.

insect hotel build vegetable garden bee attract location

Plants and flowers that are considered especially bee-friendly include pumpkins, cucumbers, apple, cherry and peach trees, berry bushes, and some seasonal flowers. If you don’t have a kitchen garden, plant early- and late-blooming wildflowers outdoors so insects can find food year-round. The winter bulb flowers as early as January. In spring, for example, crocuses, snowdrops and snow heather bloom. In early summer, field knapweed, meadow sage and red glueweed bloom, in late summer – the dyer’s family, panicle flower and wild carrot. In autumn, the blooming season begins for the fat hen, ivy and autumn anemones.

Building insect hotels: Butterfly house and wild bee hotel in one.

Insect hotel build butterfly house vertical slots bees

The first insect house resembles a mailbox and, in principle, is very easy to build. Even inexperienced craftsmen can screw together a box of wood. In addition, separate the house into two sections: the upper “floor” serves as a butterfly house and provides shelter for butterflies. On the front side of the box make two to four slits, inside fill the box with bark mulch. The lower “floor” remains open at the front. Here, several 15 cm – 20 cm long bamboo tubes with different sized openings are stacked on top of each other.

Wild bee hotel on the planted wall

build insect hotel bees openings ivy sun hanging

In the next example, we explain how to convert a former basket made of birch wood. Remove the lid and the bottom of the basket, pierce openings in the basket and use a screw and wing nut to hold the ends together. Fill the basket with a pierced log and bamboo tubes. Hang the finished insect hotel on the garden wall planted with ivy. Thus, the insects inside will be safely protected from the wind and cold, and at the same time have access to food.

Insect hotel for ladybugs, butterflies and lacewings

build insect hotel sunny location in the middle of flower bed attract pollinators

The next insect hotel provides overwintering opportunities for three types of insects: wild bees are housed above, in the middle box you can arrange dry materials such as straw or bark for the lacewings, and ladybugs find shelter below.

insect hotel build instructions wooden house wood stick pierce

Building an insect hotel: Attract spiders and beetles

insect hotel build instructions bee attract hard wood pierce openings

Spiders protect us in the garden from mosquitoes and flies. Build an insect hotel with many small wooden sticks and leave cavities between the wooden sticks. Such hotels can also attract beetles. You can additionally plant the insect hotel with succulents.

Build insect hotel and protect it from birds and pests.

insect hotel build grasses wool birds spiders attract

You have built an insect hotel and want to protect it from pests and birds? Build an insect hotel on the other side of the property with plants that flies like. Then arrange cotton on the upper side that the birds will use for their nests. Don’t forget to add materials to the hotel periodically.

Build insect hotel:  Tree branches for beetles

insect hotel build mistake mold avoid spiders

Arrange several tree branches with moss in a picture frame. They will attract beetles.

Insect hotel build bee use hard wood

Insect hotel build wood do not paint leave untreated

Building an insect hotel Selecting a location

Build insect hotel Ladybugs Bumblebee attract mosquitoes combat