The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse over the last few weeks. That said, at Lazy Susan we think it’s still important to get the kids outside for some fresh autumn air. And whilst the leaves are falling, in between the showers, we are still seeing sunshine and mild temperatures.
If you’re struggling with things to do this weekend with the kids, then our advice is to get them to build a bug hotel. You can build one at any time of year, to be honest, however, you tend to find the best natural materials such as straw, fallen leaves and hollow plant stems in the autumn months.
Bug hotels are easy to build and can be assembled from all manner of found, recycled and natural materials that you’ll have to hand in the garden. Get the kids working on the hotel this weekend, while you concentrate on those autumn gardening jobs with the tips we shared last month!
Why build a bug hotel with the kids?
Bug hotels benefit lots of different types of minibeasts and insects such as ladybirds, bees, spiders and woodlice. They can use your bug hotel as a safe space to shelter, lay eggs, raise their young, and safely hide from predators.
Many bugs will look for a cool, damp place to shelter, so try and find a shaded spot that doesn’t get too much direct sunlight. Flat/stable ground or wall-mounted is best, and remember that your hotel will be there through the winter, so they’ll need plenty of layers and hiding holes to keep them warm.
Our favourite bug hotels to build with children
The Lazy Susan team have pulled together some of our favourite how-to's from the likes of the RSPB and the Woodland Trust, and there's a good mix of building guides, best materials to use and instructional videos that all provide a great starting point for you and your children or grandchildren:
A multi-storey bug hotel
If you’re looking for a simple easy to follow step-by-step guide then the DIY multi-storey hotel from the RSPB is a great place to start.
Constructed from natural materials it’ll provide the insects in your garden with some great hiding-holes and is guaranteed to attract creatures galore.
How to build a bug hotel
If you’re looking to attract a specific type of minibeast, then the Woodland Trust have it covered in their how to build a bug hotel article.
From log pile lodges and twig tower blocks to pine cone palaces for ladybirds, there is some great advice on what beasties different types of materials and hotels are likely to attract.
How to make a hibernation habitat
As they English Garden state in their how to make a hibernation habitat:
Though we may often see them as pests, it’s import to encourage insects in the garden as they provide food for birds, eat pests that damage vegetables and plants, help breakdown rotting plant and fruit debris and are essential for pollination.
They’ve some fantastic tips on how to construct a bug hotel that delivers a 5* hibernation habitat that a wide variety of minibeasts will definitely want to check in to!
50 DIY bug hotels
If you’re looking for a little inspiration then the Craftionary have you covered with their wonderful 50 DIY bug hotels.
There’s loads of great advice, with tips on building your hotel out of old drawers or CD crates, and if you’d rather purchase than build, they recommend some of the best kits you can buy.
How to Make a Home for Beneficial Insects
Grow Veg have this great video on YouTube that demonstrates how to build a bug hotel that will make beneficial insects want to check-in and stay in your garden forever!
Plus, if the kids spot any insects in your bug hotel, then they ask if you can report them at the Big Bug Hunt.
How to build a bug hotel: The right way!
Garden Ninja, who featured in our recent favourite garden bloggers article has produced this great video:
Lee from Garden Ninja shows you how to build a bug hotel that is great for encouraging a wide range of wildlife into your garden, no matter what size garden you have!
Building a Bug Hotel for Biodiversity
In our final video, Sikana English shows you how to make an insect hotel that welcomes different types of creatures into your garden.
On their channel, there is also a great video that show’s you how to build a bird feeder if you’d rather go down that route.