Insect hotels are the bird houses of the insect world

In the wild, solitary insect species, like wood-boring beetles and solitary bees, search for cavities in wood to lay eggs. These cavities are typically left by burrowing beetles, woodpeckers, or the tree’s own natural growth. Some species, like carpenter bees, will chew their way through wood to make a nesting cavity. Insect hotels are simply man-made replicas of the natural habitats these organisms search for in the wild.

Creating an insect hotel on your own is an easy way to add a creative and functional feature to your garden or landscape. The most important feature of the hotel should be to keep it as natural as possible. A wooden frame can be filled with natural materials for nesting sites. The following table breaks down which insects and other invertebrates can be expected to utilize each type of material.

Insect hotel construction materials and guests
Building Item Possible visitor(s)
sawn logs or wooden blocks with pre-drilled holes solitary bees, such as mason bees and leaf-cutter bees
bamboo or reed stems solitary bees, such as mason bees and leaf-cutter bees; wasps, such as thread-waist wasps
dry leaves centipedes, beetles, harvestmen
sticks ladybird beetles
strips of bark beetles, woodlice, centipedes, millipedes, spiders

There are many online resources available for constructing and building your own insect hotel. Check out the following for more information:

Building and Managing Bee Hotels for Wild Bees - Michigan State University Extension Service

Build Your Own Insect Hotel

Here are step by step instructions to guide you through the steps to build your own insect hotel.

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