Building a Plastic Bug Hotel
25 Aug 2016
While transforming your garden into a wildlife sanctuary may sound like hard work, it doesn’t have to be. Most of us have a lot of old junk cluttering up our garden shed or garage. Broken plant pots, old planks of wood and used plastic pallets can all be dusted off and used to make a small-scale habitat to house a wide range of critters.
One of the easiest projects to get stuck into is creating a bug hotel. Pallets can be used for the bulk of the construction. Thanks to the upcycling trend, wooden pallets can often be hard to come by, but plastic pallets work just as well.
Why Use Plastic?
Plastic can often be overlooked by gardeners as it’s not natural, but it’s actually a great resource. The fact that every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence means that building a bug hotel is a great way to help the environment in more ways than one by attracting wildlife and engaging in some plastic pallet recycling.
Also, if you’re keen to get little ones involved in the outdoor activity, plastic is a much safer option than wood, which can often have protruding nails and can cause nasty splinters.
Creating a Plastic Paradise for Your Garden’s Creepy Crawlies
Like any hotel magnate, location should be your first priority. Somewhere surrounded by wild flowers and long grass should attract the most insects.
Start by stacking up the crates on top of each other. The hotel can be as big as you desire, but five should be the optimum number. Once you’ve got the main body, you can now create the micro-habitats for each species.
As the most shaded layer, the bottom part of the hotel should be designed to encourage frogs and hedgehogs. Make sure it’s well stocked with leaves for the hungry creatures to munch on during their stay.
The following layers can be arranged to entice a multitude of beasties. Layers of sticks and dry leaves make a great base for hibernating ladybirds, while straw-filled plant pots are bound to attract lacewings.
One of the most useful bugs to get on board with your hotel is, of course, the bee. Not only can you offer threatened bee populations a home, but they’ll also help to pollinate the plants in your garden, resulting in a thriving outdoor space. Many bees like confined spaces such as holes, so a layer of bamboo could make the perfect home for these buzzing bugs.
On top of the hotel, lay a variety of rocks. As the sun beats down, this warm section will attract anything that prefers a drier climate.
Once you’ve finished your hotel, all there’s left to do is sit back and watch as your wild guests move in.