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Bugs Are Critical For Our Ecosystems, But Insect Populations Are Rapidly Declining, So Here’s How To Create A “Bug Hotel” In Your Garden And Cultivate A Safe Haven For These Crucial Critters

Photo 150142334 © Mariia Boiko - Dreamstime.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Bugs may be considered great nuisances, but they are critical to the Earth’s ecosystem. Unfortunately, insect populations have been declining at alarming rates.

This is partly due to the lack of organic matter in meticulously cultivated urban and suburban yards, such as woody waste, dead leaves, and taller grass. These features are seen as eyesores, but they are necessary habitats for some bugs.

If you’ve got some extra space in your garden or landscape, consider creating a structure for insects to rest their weary wings. Bug hotels provide a safe place for insects to nest, take shelter during the winter, and care for their young.

It’s an easy way to add a creative and functional fixture to your backyard. So, find out what all the buzz is about, and build your own!

Before you start designing your bug hotel, here are a few best practices to keep in mind so that you can attract the right types of bugs—ones that will be beneficial to your garden.

Bug hotels range in size. They can be as large as a studio apartment or as small as a birdhouse. The world’s biggest bug hotel is about 367 square feet.

Your structure should include some kind of roof, whether it be solid wood or repurposed tile. Insects prefer sheltered areas, so it’s important to put some thought into the location of your bug hotel. Place it in a spot that receives morning sunlight and is near flowering plants.

For materials, you’ll need a collection of wooden blocks, hollow twigs, stems, lichens, and rotting logs. Centipedes, beetles, and garden spiders enjoy rotting logs and a loose bark cover. Ladybugs love bundles of dry sticks and twigs. Straw, hay, and dried grass are good for insects that like burrowing.

To lure in bees and wasps, install cardboard tubes, straws, hollow bamboo stems, or reeds. The length of the tubes and the diameter of the holes depends on the size of the hotel. However, it is recommended that they be no longer than five to eight inches.

Photo 150142334 © Mariia Boiko – Dreamstime.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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