Why and how to make a DIY Insect Hotel to encourage beneficial insects and bees to visit your backyard.
Almost 3 years ago, our family took a hiking trip through Austria. It was a memorable trip for so many reasons and, as is the case with all of our trips, our family brought home many memories and several ‘ideas'.
We started our multi-day hike by trekking through Sisi Park along the Traun river in Bad Ischl, Austria. It just so happened that while we were there, a garden show was being held in the park and as we were departing the park, I spied this wooden insect house for sale.
I snapped a quick picture with the full intent of building one when we returned back home.
Better late than never…right? Truthfully, this has been up for almost a year…so is a fairly established hotel.
Our wooden insect hotel is placed near the marsh and our garden, with the hopes of it having its ‘no vacancy' sign up often. I probably need to get a listing on Hotels.com for it.
As organic gardeners, we are firm believers and ‘encouragers' of beneficial insects. We've seen firsthand what parasitic wasps can do to those nasty Tomato Horn Worms and how quickly a few ladybugs can decimate a horde of aphids. We welcome any and all bees to our humble garden and put out the welcome sign in the form of Bee Balm, Zinnia, Lavender and Dill.
To that end, we are always looking for more ways to encourage those friendly bugs to make our home their home and this wooden insect house is just another way to induce them.
(UPDATE: Since building our insect hotel and writing this post, I have read some information that suggests that pine cones and pinestraw may not be good ‘ingredients' in your insect hotel. It is suggested that you use smooth bamboo sticks and wood with holes drilled instead. )
While a little more expensive, we used cedar for our DIY Insect Hotel because of its weather resistant properties. We didn't want to use pressure treated wood given the chemicals involved in that process.
You can see in the image below that someone is building a nest in the drilled holes of the log.
I did a lot of research on flowers for bees and I plan to start a Bee Friendly Flower Garden surrounding the hotel this spring, with all sorts of beneficial insect attracting flowers…everyone likes a nicely landscaped hotel…hoping that it further increases our occupancy rate. If you are interested in an insect house, but not sure you want to spend the time to build one, you can buy them on (where else), Amazon.
This wooden insect house is one of the many things we ‘brought' back from our travels…it will forever remind of us the beginning of our Austrian hike through Sisi garden.
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