Winter Breaks for Insects

The mornings are darker, the air is cooler and there is definitely a whiff of Autumn in the air. With the success of the Nectar Bar this year I’m already thinking of expanding my interests into insect real estate….

There is already a simple insect dwelling like the one below by the front door. The Lacewings and Ladybirds love it and there are a few crafty little spiders who act as security guards. It’s easy to maintain, looks attractive and provides good shelter against the elements. Unfortunately, it gets a little cramped over Winter and there is only one bathroom so it’s time for an upgrade.

Okay, I need to source various materials such as bricks, drilled wood, pallets, tiles and pipes… thankfully I have a huge heap of these in the paddock and, once the thistles have died down, I’ll gather these up. I just need to think about what style to have. I like the thought of a country retreat for them but, as many of the insects around here already live in the country, they may wish to try something different.

Maybe I could build them a town house….

… or a whole metropolis! The nightlife is certainly going to be more vibrant and they’ll meet all sorts of interesting multi-legged friends. The only problem is that it took us SO long to get planning permission for the outbuildings that buiding an insect city may not be worth the stress!

On reflection I’ll probably build a simple pallet structure that is tucked away in a quiet corner similar to the one below! As an organic gardener I have to take care of the friendly bugs so that they can scare away the nasty ones (I was once told that they eat their enemies but this is too gruesome to contemplate).

Ever since I saw Malc’s insect hotel over atΒ Green Bench RamblingsΒ I have been mulling these ideas over so watch this space in a couple of months and you may just be surprised (hopefully in a good way!).

49 thoughts on “Winter Breaks for Insects

    • Apparently, the more diverse the material the better the accommodation… and I agree that it really looks great when bricks, old wood and pipes come together! It would look lovely on the front of a card πŸ™‚

  1. Your post has given me an idea for a school gardening club activity – thank you! Not sure a bug hotel made by 6-11 year olds will be quite as grand the ones in your photos, but every little helps…

  2. Hi. I first learned about providing for insects this from Malc’s blog also. They are fascinating and I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I have contemplated adding one but how do you announce it it just for beneficial creatures…don’t know.

  3. I love all these photos and what a delightful idea. I’ve done this on such a tiny scale, that I’m almost embarrass to say. We have a Mason Bee tube mounted to the wall over the vegetable garden, and two small ladybug (ladybird) houses made from bamboo. You inspire me, PJ.

    Would you really need a permit for something this size? Crazy.

    • The planning department is quite strict due to the rural location and they’re trying to preserve the look of the landscape. I don’t think we’d really need a permit for this as it would be seen as a temporary structure (rather like a shed). Tiny scale or large scale – it all make a difference!

      • That is true. And I do appreciate efforts to protect open landscape.

        I know here that building a deck below a certain height doesn’t require a permit, whereas a taller one does. I figured it had more to do with safety and structure. Not all DIYers should be DIYers!

  4. It’s me again. I noticed your site on Green Benches blogroll, but the link doesn’t work. On further investigation it shows ,com instead .com. I hope you can contact him/her to fix it. No place for comments on the site.

    • I’m sure that there must be books but I haven’t seen one. I think as long as you provide a wide variety of material then you’ll attract a wide variety of insects. So bricks, wood, canes, sticks, pebbles, leaves etc.
      You’d have to research how to keep those evil crickets out or you could unwittingly build a palace for them!

  5. How industrious you are. I’ve only seen wasps hanging round at the moment. but I have merely have room for a few planters. I think the sky’s the limit with a multi-cubby unit as far as fillers go. Very tactile and artsy…fancy that.

    • It’s only in the planning stage at the moment Boomdee but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I do seem to be getting in touch with my artsy side at the moment and have a hankering to start playing with watercolours! I’ll go with the flow with this and see where it takes me πŸ™‚

  6. Those insect homes look quite spectacular πŸ™‚ We’ve got a little house for ladybirds but I have no idea if they actually use it as I don’t want to disturb them by opening it to find out. However, the birds also like the outside – I think they were striping off the bark this spring to build their nests, so I wonder how many years it will last!

  7. I love all your examples. I too have been thinking about putting in some insect lodgings. I know they find places in my garden but they might like a vacation home/retreat like you showed. Or it might even attract more insects! Great post!

  8. I obviously love this post. It is good to see interest in insect accomodation developing across the ocean. Our ideas have featured in several gardening magazines this year so these ideas are spreading rapidly. Some great ideas in your photos. One thing worth mentioning is that having provided insect homes in our garden and in the communal gardens at our allotments for several years now, we are finding that some insect-eating birds are discovering them. We are slowly putting netting over the fronts.
    I shall change your info on my blogroll – silly me!!

  9. I’m looking forward to seeing your insect house. I think they can be an interesting element to the garden as well as providing shelter to the all-important bees and bugs that visit the garden.

  10. Creepy crawlies are enjoying the great ‘indoors’ at the moment…namely our house!! Have had one mahosive house spider and still hunting high & low for its evil twin who’s lurking somewhere.
    So, shimmying all bugs your way to enjoy their stay at your posh new winter retreat x

    • Ha ha… those pesky spiders! No problem they can come and live with me as it gives me an excuse for there being so many cobwebs… perish the thought that people think I don’t dust very often!

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